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Drimolen Palaeocave System
Map showing the location of Drimolen Palaeocave System
Map showing the location of Drimolen Palaeocave System
Location in Gauteng
Location Gauteng, South Africa
Nearest city Muldersdrift, South Africa
Coordinates 25°58′05″S 27°45′18″E / 25.968°S 27.755°E / -25.968; 27.755Coordinates: 25°58′05″S 27°45′18″E / 25.968°S 27.755°E / -25.968; 27.755
Established Discovered 1992
Governing body Cradle of Humankind Management Authority and Private Landowner

Drimolen is an early Pleistocene hominin-bearing palaeocave system located around 40 km north of Johannesburg, South Africa in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cradle of Humankind.[1] The site was discovered on 9 July 1992 by Dr Andre Keyser. On 21 October 1994 Dr Keyser discovered the DNH 7 (Eurydice) skull, the most complete Paranthropus robustus skull ever found[2]. It is also considered a rare female skull of P. robustus. DNH 8, a male mandible called "Orpheus" was also discovered at the same time and adjacent to DNH 7. Dr Menter joined the excavation with Dr Keyser in 1997. Keyser continued to direct excavations at the site until 2010 when he died from cancer. Menter directed research and excavations at the site from 2010 until early 2017. Excavations at the site were conducted by technical assistants in the early years and by a number of field schools in the latter years. These include the University of Florence, Italy (Prof Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi; 2006-2012), the University of Victoria, Canada (2011, 2012, 2014), and La Trobe University, Australia (Prof Andy Herries; 2013-2016). Excavations at the site were taken over by Stephanie Baker of the University of Johannesburg in mid-2017 and are ongoing in collaboration with Prof Andy Herries of La Trobe University as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project.

All the hominin remains have been recovered from the area of the site known as the Main Quarry (DMQ) and include remains of Paranthropus robustus and early Homo[3]. The deposit dates to sometime between 2.0 and 1.4 Ma and it has also yielded some of the world's oldest bone tools and a handful of stone tools. In 2013 a new fossil deposit was discovered around 50m away from the Main Quarry that is known as the Drimolen Makondo (DMK). DMK has not yielded any hominin remains but is thought to be slightly older than DMQ between 2.6 and 2.0 Ma.


  1. ^ "The archaeological site of Drimolen". Missione Archeologica Drimolen. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  2. ^ Keyser (2000). "The Drimolen skull: the most complete australopithecine cranium and mandible to date". South African Journal of Science. 
  3. ^ Moggi-cecchi; et al. (2010). "Early hominin dental remains from the Plio-Pleistocene site of Drimolen, South Africa". Journal of Human Evolution.