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Throughout Africa, one finds many types of caves, along with rich evidence of human occupation of the entrance area of caves. Some of the inscriptions and paintings on cave walls are more than 30,000 years old. Caves were and are used in Africa for rest, shelter, fires, ceremonies, secret hideaways, mining of precious stones and metals, and rituals. After a brief look at the geology of caves, this entry examines their place in African culture, with a focus on religion.

Geological Background

Caves are rock or lava tubes with openings large enough for humans to find shelter or refuge. There are many types of caves in Africa. For example, some are formed at the same time as the surrounding rock and are called primary caves. Most of ...

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