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Museum display at the Eswatini National Museum on Lion Cavern

Tuesday 05 Jul 2022
Saturday 31 Dec 2022
A museum display at the Eswatini National Museum on Lion Cavern, the world's oldest mine.

Lion Cavern is on the tentative list for World Heritage. It is an ochre mine dating back well into the Middle Stone Ages in Africa and is dated to 43 000 years ago. Ochre was, and is, used for symbolic purposes in Southern Africa, and the mine remains a sacred site to shamanic healers. There was research in the 1960s and 70s at the site, we have recently related the site using Optically Stimulated Luminescence and are able to confirm the ancient dates.

There is an active archaeological ochre research project ongoing and three months ago we held an international ochre conference for archeologists in Eswatini. We intend promoting the site as sustainable tourism. Lion Cavern is adjacent to a modern iron ore mine which closed in the late 70s and is likely to be reopened. We will emphasise the long-term advantages from cultural tourism against the short term benefits of commercial mining.

Bob Forrester
Cultural Heritage Consultant
Eswatini National Trust Commission
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Tuesday, 5 July 2022
Saturday, 31 December 2022

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