Gondolin Cave

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Gondolin Cave is a fossil-bearing breccia filled cavity located about 18km East of the well known South African hominid-bearing sites of Sterkfontein and Kromdraai and about 50km North-Northwest of the City of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is the most north-westerly located fossil site in the Cradle of Humankind.

Gondolin has been investigated since its discovery by K. MacKenzie in 1977[1]. Since then a series of part-time excavations have recovered many hundreds of fossils, all recoverd from breccia dumps. Excavations have been conducted at Gondolin by the Transvaal Museum and the University of the Witwatersrand. No significant in-situ work has been conducted[1]. Of the several hundreds of fossils recovered from Gondolin, as of yet, only two hominid fossils have been found. Many very fine fossils of other animals, however, have been discovered.

Gondolin is a breccia-filled dolomitic caves that formed in a fissure along a geological fault. It was heavily mined for lime and much of the original deposit has been destroyed. Gondolin has been a dated to 1.5 to 2.0 million years old based on the animals recovered[1].

  • 1977 - fossil site discovered. Sampling soon undertaken by Elisabeth Vrba[1].
  • 1997 - excavation re-opened by the the University of the Witwatersrand and first hominins found.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hilton Barber, B. and Berger, L.R. (2001). Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind. Struik.