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In Pictures: Uncovering The Beds Of Ancient Humans

  • Excavated sleeping mats

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Prof. Lyn Wadley
  • Mats made of local plants

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Christine Sievers and Muthama
  • Layer upon layer

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Prof. Lyn Wadley
  • Burnt bedding

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Prof. Christopher Miller
  • Fossilized mattresses

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Prof. Christopher Miller
  • Ancient leaves

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Marion Bamford
  • Leaf fragments

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
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    CREDIT: Credit: Prof. Lyn Wadley
  • Ancient sleeping plant

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
    8 of 10
    CREDIT: Christine Sievers
  • Modern plants

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
    9 of 10
    CREDIT: Prof. Christopher Miller
  • An ancient home

    early humans, oldest mattresses, oldest bedding, sibudu cave, human creativity, history, culture
    10 of 10
    CREDIT: Prof. Lyn Wadley
Researchers have found sleeping mats from early humans in South Africa, as many as 77,000 years ago, created out of local plants. Starting around 73,000 years ago, the site's inhabitants burned the bedding periodically, perhaps to get rid of pests and garbage. The excavation site at Sibudu is pictured here.

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