“5 Million years and still going: a dip into our fossil neighbours” Excursion 3 August

Join us on 3rd August for a day trip to see some amazing palaeontological and archaeological fossil sites in the Saldanha area. The excursion will be led by Dr Graham Avery of Iziko South African Museum, who will ‘show and tell’. Meet at Saldanha Bay 09h30 at Y-turnoffs to harbour area/Naval Academy.
“5 Million years and still going: a dip into our fossil neighbours”
LBWscenario smallWe will visit the following sites:
Hoedjiespunt and Sea Harvest
Hoedjiespunt, a 100 000 year old Middle Stone Age shell midden which overlay a 200 00 year old hyaena den;
A five million year old marine cobble beach on an eroded granite ‘platform’ with fossil shells deposited when the sea level was much higher; and
Sea Harvest, a 60 000 year old Middle Stone Age site contiguous with a 150 000 year old hyaena den.
We’ll hear how the people lived and how bone accumulations left by brown hyaenas increase our knowledge about past humans and biodiversity.
Note that to access Hoedjiespunt, which is in the Port security area, drivers are breathalysed as a matter of course).
The West Coast Fossil Park
We’ll see and hear about the excavation of a 5 million year old river channel and fossils of extinct animals. The view of the excavated fossils is spectacular.
On our return we will also stop along the way at two optional sites:
Spreeuwalle
55 000 year old calcified dunes which overlie a buried vlei that existed off the present coast during a lower sea level (Saldanha Bay was land) and hear about the fossil animals that lived there.
Ysterfontein
A 60 000 year old shell midden and hear how the people there lived at that time; and 120 000 year old and 5 000 year old beaches left by high sea levels that reached +7m and +1.5 m respectively.
Koeberg Nature Reserve
Ancient dunes on the beach, which have soil horizons in them that reflect times when the coast was further away during a period of lower sea level.
Meet:
Saldanha Bay 09h30 at Y-turnoffs to harbour area/Naval Academy, reached by following the main road through the town. Allow about 2 hours for travel depending on where you live and speed. Map will be provided.
Bring: water, hat, picnic lunch, etc. Rain gear in case.
Access:
Access to the Saldanha sites is pretty level and distances very short.
Access at the fossil Park is level, on a road with a short boardwalk at the excavation.
Access at Spreeuwalle and Koeberg require short walks (3-400 m) on sand.
Access at Ysterfontein — the archaeological site and 7 m beach deposit close to the road. The 1.5 m beach deposit requires a short walk <50 m.
Transport:
Use own transport and share where possible.
Costs:
The cost of the day’s excursion including entry fees and a guided tour of the dig site at Fossil Park is R130 per person (excludes transport and refreshments)   All payments are to be made prior to the excursion date

Booking & Payment: Please contact the Royal Society Office before 28 July for a Booking Form at royalsociety@uct.ac.za
Information needed :
Car make and registration number;
Driver’s ID No.
Size of party
Contact Numbers:
Mobile/Cellular Numbers only please.