The breccia is then chipped away from the fossils and stone tools with small chisels and airscribes (a power tool used to separate fossils from rocks). where the lime has been dissolved away by groundwater and the breccia has broken up) are excavated with picks and shovels and all the earth is sieved, so even small bones of rodents, insectivores, bats, lizards, frogs and birds can be recovered.Fragmented and crushed fossils can be reconstructed after cleaning.
Excavations and dating have been conducted by Professor Phillip Tobias, Alun Hughes, Professor Ron Clarke, Dr Kathy Kuman, Professor Tim Partridge and others.
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Sterkfontein has also yielded stone artefacts that are up to almost 2-million years old, and are the oldest dated stone tools in Southern Africa.
Palaeontologist Dr Robert Broom began to recover fossils from lime mining activities at Sterkfontein in 1936.