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Taung Heritage Site

The Taung Heritage Site is of enormous scientific importance. It was at these limestone diggings at the old Buxton quarry in 1924 that the lime encrusted skull of a child was unearthed. Prof Raymond Dart, who discovered the skull belonging to an early hominid, named it “Australopithecus africanus” meaning the “southern ape of Africa”. The Taung Heritage Site is dedicated to the discovery of this skull. A monument to the discovery is at the site and an old mine tunnel has been opened for exploration.

The discovery of the Taung child skull at the Buxton quarry was heralded as one of the most significant archaeological events of the time and caused an enormous amount of discussion, both in support of, and against the scientific classification given by Dr Raymond Dart. The find effectively advanced the evidence of the existence of early man in Africa by more than a million years, leading many scientists to believe that the origin of early man was indeed initiated on the African continent.

The Buxton quarry, which is no longer being mined, remains an important scientific research site and is also a place of great peace and tranquillity.

The Taung site is not only of archaeological importance. From the limestone cliffs at the head of the valley, a constant flow of clear water flows through a succession of attractive pools (the Blue Pools) in descent down to this ancient valley. The azure Blue Pools are surrounded by picturesque caves and streams. This is a popular hiking, abseiling and picnic venue.

Location

The Taung Heritage Site and the Blue Pools are located to the West of the village of Taung at the Buxton Quarry.

Directions

At the Taung crossroad, turn to the west for 4km then left to Pampierstad for 6,5km then right for 3,8km to the Buxton quarry. Indicator boards will lead you to the gates.

History

Australian anthropologist Professor Raymond Dart made his startling find here in 1924.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Blue Pools

A popular picnic site at the Buxton quarry at the Taung Heritage Site. Barbecue facilities, set alongside a pristine spring winding through an ancient limestone valley.

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