National Heritage Site declaration: 18 March 2016

The Klasies River Cave complex is located along a section of the Tsitsikamma coast  near Humansdorp, south of the Klasies River Mouth. The complex consists of Main Site and Caves 3, 4 and 5. Main Site has been the main focus of scientific interest and is situated along the coast between the mouth of the Klasies River and Druipkelder Point.

Archaeological research started at the cave sites at Klasies River during the late 1960s and in the following decades, the site has yielded some of the earliest, and most extensive evidence for anatomically modern humans in southern Africa and some of the oldest behavioural evidence for a coastal economy through the extensive use of marine resources in Africa.  The sites also preserve the most extensive record on stone artefact technology, food gathering and settlement organisation in the Middle Stone Age in sub-Saharan Africa. The site has become an iconic locality for the study of modern human origins, expressed through the ongoing research publications, both locally and abroad, originating from the site and providing information about environmental changes and human adaptations over the past 120 000 years. The site itself and material that has already been excavated from has led to the publication of numerous research papers in South Africa and abroad, and it still holds enormous research potential to reconstruct the past.

To access the gazette notice, records of issued permits and decisions, and other technical information please visit the site record in the inventory of the national estate, accessible via SAHRIS - follow the link below.