The Tsodilo Hills today, stand as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are testament to lives of the inhabitants of this area over thousands of years. However, not much about the area was known before the 1950's when it was brought into the spotlight by Laurens van der Post's book 'The Lost World of the Kalahari'.
One of the reasons that Tsodilo only became significant when it did was because the Kalahari region was considered to be a backwater from an archeological perspective. To many archeologists, the region was simply deemed uninhabitable due to the extreme climate and desert landscape.
They chose to focus on the important sites found elsewhere, such as in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
This would all change in the early 1980's and 1990's, when Stone Age materials dating back to some 60 000 years, including stone points used as weapons on spears and arrows, were uncovered by archeologists exploring the area. This would prompt much interest in Tsodilo during the years that followed.
This would lead to the uncovering of large recordings of San Rock art inscribed on these sites. Specialists have been able to decipher much of the ancient rock art of the Hills, which depicts agriculture, hunting, fishing, metalwork, trading, sexuality and spirituality. In 1991, a group of archeologists came upon a marvelous painting that depicted an Elephant and other beasts of burden at what appeared to be an excavation site.
As they continued their discovery, they entered 20 caves which they later realized were mines with heaps of detritus located at the entrances. It appeared that these ancient miners were after a shimmering iron mineral called Specularite.