First human illustrations


Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) aims to increase our understanding of how and when Homo sapiens evolved into who we are today.

Jenny Macalli, scientist at SapienCE Collecting data loggers inside Bloukrantz cave, February 2023

Decoding Past Climates through Dripstones

A recent study demonstrates how dripstones can be crucial for reconstructing past climates. The new approach can provide a detailed picture of the climate around early human occupations in South Africa.

Image of SapienCE researcher Karen van Nierkerk excavating in Blombos Cave

New study shows signs of early creation of modern human identities

Our early ancestors were collecting eye-catching shells that may have been used as personal ornaments 100 000 years ago. The discoveries possibly also show the creation of identity that gradually, but radically changed the way we look at ourselves and others.

Top left: location of the site; top right: view of Porc-Epic Cave (photo: A. Herrero); bottom: ochre pieces found in the archaeological layers and analysed in the study

Tracing Early Human Cultural Evolution

SapienCE’s Francesco d’Errico and his international team have published their analysis of the largest known collection of Middle Stone Age ochre, which reveals how ochre use evolved over a period of 4500 years. The new study is essential to understand how complex cultures arose and diversified in...

Bilde fra utstillingen The Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour exhibition i Cape Town

The lives of our early ancestors on display at Cape Point

The Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour exhibition is launched at Cape Point, South Africa. The exhibition showcases remarkable discoveries from SapienCE main excavation sites augmented by Sea Change Project contribution.

TEAM SapienCE at the museumopening

Showcasing Fascinating Discoveries about Early Modern Human Behaviour

The SapienCE Early Human Behaviour Exhibition offers a unique opportunity to explore fascinating discoveries and insights into the behaviours of our early, shared, ancestors.

Sapience logo

SapienCE was established in 2017 by the Research Council of Norway in collaboration with the University of Bergen. The SapienCE Centre is cooperating closely with the University of the Witwatersrand, Norce, Royal Holloway University of London, Université de Bordeaux and Universität Tübingen.

SapienCE is part of the Research Council of Norway's Centres of Excellence (CoE) scheme. The scheme organizes the activities of Norway’s foremost scientific circles in centres to achieve ambitious scientific objectives through collaboration and long-term basic funding.