Before Still Bay became known as the home of world-class fynbos infused gins, it has been famous amongst the archaeological community as the site of historically important artefacts that show the emergence of humans as thinking, creative and social beings.
“This little town on the south-east coast of Africa that is making waves with its gins is also home to the oldest known evidence of cognitively modern man” says Lorna Scott, founder of Inverroche. She is, of course, referring to the significant archaeological finds made along the south Cape shoreline, most significantly at Blombos Cave.
“Here we have evidence of humans co-operating, developing complex tools, symbolic artefacts and the creation and sharing of mythology. It is the first evidence of man as a creative and sharing thinker and maker, a hallmark of our unique species” continues Jan De Vynck, a resident archaeologist and authority on the subject.
A selection of the treasures found in the Caves and open-air sites along this coastline can be seen at the Blombos Museum of Archaeology in Still Bay and include the archaeologically significant “Still Bay” bifacial points, bone tools, little estuarine shells which were used as beads and adornments, a replica of the famous engraved ochre (the oldest art piece on earth) and a 100 000 year-old paint toolkit which was found at Blombos Cave. The development of objects beyond functional to decorative and symbolic is seen as significant progress in our species’ cognitive development.
The ancient Fish Traps found at the edge of Still Bay are further proof of the people’s cognitive growth as they sought to adapt and find a place in the wild environment of the time. Their creativity and engineering are preserved to this day. You have to see them at low tide to appreciate their simple genius and scale. These Fish Traps are one of the oldest still-in-use stone-age technologies globally.
But what has all of this got to do with gin, the world’s favourite afternoon refreshment?
“Living in this place and being so aware of its rich history, its creativity and ingenuity coupled with the unique natural flora inspired us to pick up the mantle and continue to create magic, albeit in our own way through our gins,” Lorna says, “We felt we had to do something to build on the legacy of this remarkable place.”