Python shrine found in Botswana

December 4, 2006

A Norway-based archaeologist has found a cave in Botswana that appears to be a 70,000-year-old religious shrine.

The cave in the Tsodilo hills has a rock with a marked resemblance to a python's head, The Times of London reported. The rock has manmade marks on it and a hiding place behind it that could have been used by a shaman appearing to speak for the python.

Sheila Coulson of the University of Oslo said the indentations on the rock in daylight look like scales. In the light of a fire, the snake appears to move.

"The shaman would have been able to control everything. It was perfect," Coulson said.

If Coulson's find is a shrine, it pushes back the first archaeological evidence of religious beliefs back 40,000 years.

The cave also contained artifacts buried in the floor, including red stone spearheads that had the marks of burning on them.

"It was a ritual destruction of artifacts," Coulson said. "There was no sign of normal habitation. No ordinary tools were found at the site."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Violence a matter of scale, not quantity, researchers show

December 11, 2017

Anthropologists have debated for decades whether humans living in tribal communities thousands of years ago were more or less violent than societies today. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame wonder if the question ...

Nuclear technology unlocks 50-million-year-old time capsules

December 11, 2017

A scientific analysis of fossilised tree resin has caused a rethink of Australia's prehistoric ecosystem, and could pave the way to recovering more preserved palaeobiological artefacts from the time of dinosaurs or prehistoric ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.