Rock Art

Rock-Art
Rock Art

Prehistoric Imagery


Rock art is visual imagery painted onto, engraved into or sculpted out of a rock surface. Rock art is an archaeological artefact that tells us about its makers – who they were, when they lived and, most importantly, what they thought. Southern Africa has many different rock art traditions made by hunter-gatherers, herders and Bantu-speaking farmers. It is important to study and manage all of these rock arts in order to better understand and respect each other and the land we live in.

South African rock art research is a sanctuary for critical thinking and also a contentious platform for exemplifying the history of South Africa as a colonial and post-colonial country from a unique perspective. The positive imaging of rock art has served to reinforce the dominant attitude of tolerance and unity in this country. Recent investigation into rock art has emphasised the spiritual symbolism inherent in the art and has succeeded in convincing the public to revere both the aesthetic and the spiritual significance of the art.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Rock Art Department (RAD) is to locate, record, interpret and manage the diverse rock engraving and rock painting traditions of southern Africa, thereby promoting the re-construction and development of southern African history.

News

Shiona Moodley has book published

Shiona Moodley book klein

15 October 2012
The book Koma: Expressions of cultural identity investigates a recurring spread-eagled motif found in Northern Sotho rock art in the Makgabeng Plateau, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Previous research has pointed out two categories of Northern Sotho rock art that have been painted in two different phases yet this motif occurs in both. It is found in association with the older boy’s initiation rock art and the more recent protest imagery painted during the Maleboho war of 1894. The local inhabitants call this image koma. By meticulously exploring the secret boy’s initiation rites of the Northern Sotho, this book discusses how, as a painted image, koma operates on a level surpassing other initiation icons. It embodies a symbolic perception that was also of great importance in the struggle of the Hananwa people during the war. This book ultimately unveils the conceptual link between the two traditions of rock art and discusses how the koma is perceived in the construction and expression of a distinct cultural identity.

Koma: Expressions of cultural identity. The crocodile motif in the rock art of the Makgabeng Plateau, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Lambert Academic Publishing: Saarbrücken, Germany. ISBN: 978-3-8433-8205-2. Available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com

Staff

Museum Scientist and Head of Department

Shiona-MoodleyShiona Moodley MA shiona@nasmus.co.za

Shiona Moodley is Head of the Rock Art Department. She completed her MA in Archaeology majoring in Rock Art Studies at the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of Witwatersrand in 2004 and shortly thereafter began working at the National Museum. Her research focus is initiation rock art in the Limpopo Province, community rock art projects in the Quthing District in Lesotho and the rock art of the Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape.


Senior Research Assistant

Jens Kriek BA Hons jens@nasmus.co.za

Jens-KriekJens Kriek is a Research Assistant in the Rock Art Department. He completed a BA Hons in Archaeology at the University of Pretoria in 2001. After working on the Woodhouse Rock Art Collection at the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Pretoria, Jens moved to the Rock Art Department at the National Museum. He assists with fieldwork, especially site location, recording and tracing. Jens is responsible for all the Rock Art Department collections, including literature, photographic records, historic copies, tracings, redrawings and historic documents. Jens is experienced in handling public requests and tourism issues. He has also published a series of popular rock art tourism articles.

Publications - Scientific Articles

Brink, J.S., Dreyer, J.J.B. & Loubser, J.H.N. 1992. Rescue excavations at Pramberg, Jacobsdal, south-western Orange Free State. Southern African Field Archaeology 1: 54-60.

Jacobson, L., Loubser, J., Peisach, M., Pineda, C. & van der Westhuizen, W. 1991. Pixe analysis of pre-European pottery from the northern Transvaal and its relevance to the distribution of ceramic styles, social interaction and change. South African Archaeological Bulletin 46: 19-24.

Loubser, J. 1989. Archaeology and early Venda history. In: Deacon, J. (ed.). South African Archaeological Society Goodwin Series 6: 54-61.

Loubser, J. 1990. Oral traditions, archaeology and the history of Venda mitupo. African Studies 49: 13-43.

Loubser, J., Brink, J. & Laurens, G. 1990. Paintings of the extinct blue antelope, Hippotragus leucophaeus, in the eastern Orange Free State. South African Archaeological Bulletin 45: 106-111.

Loubser, J.H.N. 1991. The ethnoarchaeology of Venda-speakers in southern Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 7: 146-464.

Loubser, J. 1991. The conservation of rock paintings in Australia and its applicability to South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 7: 114-143.

Loubser, J. & Verhagen, B. 1991. Radiocarbon dates covering the last thousand years in the Soutpansberg area, northern Transvaal. South African Journal of Science 87: 470-472.

Loubser, J. & Brink, J. 1992. Unusual paintings of wildebeest and a zebra-like animal from north-western Lesotho. Southern African Field Archaeology 1: 103-107.

Loubser, J. 1993. Ndondondwane: the significance of features and finds from a ninth century site on the lower Thukela River, Natal. Natal Museum Journal of Humanities: 5: 109-151.

Loubser, J. 1993. Rock paintings of domestic ungulates in the Caledon River Valley area of southern Africa: understanding the interaction between hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. In: Faulstich. P. & Taçon, P.S.C. (eds.). Dating and spatial considerations in rock art studies. Melbourne: AURA Occasional Publication 8: 101-110.

Loubser, J. 1993. A guide to the rock paintings of Tandjesberg. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 9: 345-384.

Loubser, J. 1994. The conservation of rock engravings and rock paintings: removals to museums or selected exhibitions in the field? South African Journal of Science 90: 454-456.

Loubser, J.H.N. 1994. Ndebele archaeology of the Pietersburg area. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 10: 61-147.

Loubser, J. & Laurens, G. 1994. Depictions of domestic ungulates and shields: hunter-gatherers and agro-pastoralists in the Caledon Valley area. In: Dowson, T. & Lewis-Williams, J.D. (eds.). Contested images: diversity in southern African rock art research: 83-118. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Loubser, J.H.N. &. P. Zietsman. 1994. Rock paintings of the postulated Brunsvigia sp. (Amaryllidaceae) at Thaba Bosiu, western Lesotho. South African Journal of Science 90: 611-612.

Loubser, J.H.N. 1996. A tale of two shelters: contrasting site management strategies in South Africa and Lesotho. In: Ward, G.K. (ed.) Management of rock art imagery. Melbourne: AURA Occasional Publication 9: 22-25.

Moodley, S. 2006. Rock Art and National Identity: A museum perspective. South African Museum Associations Bulletin 32: 85-87.

Moodley, S. 2008. Koma: Crocodile motif in the rock art of the Northern Sotho. South African Archaeological Journal 63(188): 116-124.

Ouzman, S. 1995. Spiritual and political uses of rock engravings by San and Tswana-speakers. South African Archaeological Bulletin 50: 55-67.

Ouzman, S. 1995. The fish, the shaman and the peregrination: San rock paintings of mormyrid fish as religious and social metaphors. Southern African Field Archaeology 4: 3-17.

Ouzman, S. 1996. Thaba Sione: place of rhinoceroses and rain-making. African Studies 55: 31-59.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Landscape/Mindscapes. The Semiotic Review of Books 8(3): 3-5.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Between margin and centre: the archaeology of southern African bored stones. In: Wadley, L. (ed.). Our gendered past: archaeological studies of gender in southern Africa: 71-106. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Hidden in the common gaze: collective and idiosyncratic rock paintings at Rose Cottage Cave, South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 13: 225-256.

Ouzman, S. & Wadley, L. 1997. A history in paint and stone from Rose Cottage Cave, South Africa. Antiquity 71: 386-404

Ouzman, S. 1998. Mindscape. In: Bouissac, P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Semiotics: 419-421. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ouzman, S. 1998. Rock Art. In: Bouissac, P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Semiotics: 544-547. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ouzman, S. 1998. Toward a mindscape of landscape: rock-art as expression of world-understanding. In: Chippindale, C. & Taçon, P.S.C. (eds.). The Archaeology of Rock-Art: 30-41. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ouzman, S. 2001. Seeing is deceiving: rock-art and the non-visual. World Archaeology 33(2): 237-256.

Ouzman, S. 2002. Encountering an encultured nature: some edifying examples from Indigenous Southern Africa. In: Gauer-Lietz, S. (ed.). Nature and culture: ambivalent dimensions: 199-217. Cottbus: Drukzone.

Ouzman, S., Taçon, P.S.C., Mulvaney, K. & Fullagar. R . 2002. Extraordinary engraved bird track from North Australia: extinct fauna, Dreaming Being and/or aesthetic masterpiece? Cambridge Archaeological Journal 12(1): 103-112.

Peisach, M., Pineda, C., Jacobson, L. & Loubser, J. 1991. Analytical study of pottery from Soutpansberg. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 151: 229-237.

Taçon, P.S.C., Fullagar R.K., Ouzman S. & Mulvaney K. 1997. Cupule engravings from Jinmium-Granilpi (Northern Australia) and beyond: exploration of a widespread and enigmatic class of rock markings. Antiquity 71(274): 942-965.

Publications - Popular Articles

Deacon, J. & Loubser, J. 1992. Report on the fifth Southern African rock art colloquium. Southern African Field Archaeology 1:110-112.

Kriek, J. 2004. Van Sjamans en skiektes tot Kompetisie vir kos: Leeus in San-Rotskuns. Culna. 59: 6-8.

Kriek, J. 2008. Public Rock Art Sites of southern Africa: Ha Liphapang, Lesotho. Culna. 63: 39-41.

Laurens, G. 1990. Aims and techniques of recording rock paintings. Culna 39:39-40.

Laurens, G. 1991. Some practical guidelines for conserving painted sites. Culna 40:9.

Loubser, J. 1987. Die studie van rotskuns in die Oranje-Vrystaat. Museum News 33:10.

Loubser, J. 1988. The Venda boats in the museum. Museum News 34:26-27.

Loubser, J. 1988. Boesmanrotsskilderye van Knellpoort word by museum gehuisves. Museum News35:15.

Loubser, J. 1988. The Venda drums in the museum. Museum News 35:30-31.

Loubser, J. 1989. The Venda divining bowl in the museum. Museum News 36:18-19.

Loubser, J. 1990. Venda pottery and origins. Culna 38: 27-28.

Loubser, J. 1990. The story of Soai: Bushman painters and engraver. Culna 39:21-25.

Loubser, J. 1990. Founding of the Transgariep Branch of the South African Archaeological Society. The Digging Stick 7:10.

Loubser, J. 1990. Case hardening, silica skins and some ethical considerations in the conservation of rock paintings. Pictogram 3:1-2.

Loubser, J. 1990. Removals and in situ conservation: strategies and problems in rock art conservation at the National Museum, Bloemfontein. Pictogram 3:2-5.

Loubser, J. 1991. The model of Dzata at the National Museum. Culna 40:24-25.

Loubser, J. & den Hoed, P. 1991. Recording rock paintings: some thoughts on methodology and technique. Pictogram 4:1-5.

Loubser, J., Loubser, S. & Lipschitz, N. 1991. Digging for roots: material reminders of life at Bankfontein Collieries, Breyten. The Digging Stick 8:1-3.

Loubser, J. 1992. Materials used by Bushmen to make rock paintings. Culna 42:16-17.

Loubser, J. 1992. The significance of Bushman rock paintings. Cura 1:3-5.

Loubser, J. 1993. Bushman rock paintings in the eastern Orange Free State as a potential tourist attraction. Tourism News 2:8-11.

Loubser, J. 1993. The conservation of San art. Council for the Environment Information Bulletin, August: 5-7.

Loubser, J. 1993. Rock paintings of men with muskets near Smithfield. Culna 44:6-8.

Moodley, S. 2005. Rock Art and our National Coat of Arms. Culna. 60: 3

Moodley, S. 2005. Public Rock Art Sites of southern Africa: Game Pass Shelter, Kamberg Nature Reserve. Culna. 60: 10-12.

Moodley, S. 2007. Public Rock Art Sites in the Free State: Oldenburg – Place of the eland. Culna. 62: 22-23.

Moodley, S. 2008. Rock Art for Sale? Culna. 63: 2-4

Ouzman, S. 1994. In search of symbols: rock art past, present and future. Culna 47:5-8.

Ouzman, S. 1994. Rain from the mountain of Zion. The Digging Stick 11:2-5.

Ouzman, S. 1995. Lessons from the old masters: San rock art and Pierneef. Culna 48:24-28.

Ouzman, S. 1995. Discovering and documenting San rock art: what you can do for southern African history. Culna 49:8-10.

Ouzman, S. & Botha, C. 1995. Poser from the past: the case of the curved, crafted and utterly mysterious bone object from Burgersdorp. The Digging Stick 12:7-9.

Ouzman, S. et al. 1995. Reply to R.G. Bednarik's 'J.D. Lewis-Williams and Alex Wilcox: crucial differences'. Pictogram 7:16-17.

Ouzman, S. 1996. Debate: Sunlight on the sand. Vuka SA 1:66.

Ouzman, S. 1996. The San rock art displays of the National Museum. Culna 50:16-20.

Ouzman, S. 1996. An engraved touchstone from the Free State. The Digging Stick 13:1-3.

Ouzman, S. 1996. A brief history of rock art research in the eastern Free State, South Africa. 14thbiennial conference of the Southern African Association of Archaeologists post-conference excursion guide: 28-36.

Ouzman, S. 1996. Archaeological symbols for the rainbow nation. World Archaeological Congress News 4:21-22.

Ouzman, S. 1996. The silenced voice: opinion and policy on the status of the San and their objects in southern Africa. World Archaeological Congress News 4:xi.

Ouzman, S. 1996. The shocking tale of the fish and the whale: San rock paintings of mormyrid fish. Ichthos 50:7-9.

Ouzman, S. & Henderson, Z.. 1996. Conference report on the 14th biennial conference of the Southern African Association of Archaeologists, Bloemfontein, 1-8 July 1996. World Archaeological Congress News 4:10-11.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Tandjesberg. Culna 52:32-34.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Mooiplaas revisited: following footprints old and new. Southern African Association of Archaeologists Newsletter 47:61-62.

Ouzman, S., Taçon P.S.C., Fullagar, R. & Mulvaney, K. 1997. The world’s oldest rock art? Cupule engravings from the Top End of Australia. The Digging Stick 14(3):4-7.

Ouzman, S. 1998. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Stowlands. Culna 53:3-4.

Ouzman, S. 1998. A tale of three Bushman rock painting sites in the eastern Free State of South Africa. Dual Congress of the International Association for the Study of Human Palaeontology & International Association of Human Biologists post-conference excursion guide: 29-39.

Ouzman, S. 1998. A painted fragment of Bushman history from Qwa Qwa National Park, South Africa. The Digging Stick 15(2):4-7.

Ouzman, S. 1999. Rock art lives to tell of ages past. The Express, 27-29 January:25.

Ouzman, S. 1999. Reply to Elspeth Parry’s comment on ‘A painted fragment of Bushman history from Qwa Qwa National Park, South Africa’ The Digging Stick 16(1):8-10.

Ouzman, S. 1999. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Magical Modderpoort. Culna 54:12-13,16.

Ouzman, S. 1999. 'Koeka ka kie, hents op bokkor of ik schiet!' Introducing the rock art of the South African Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902. The Digging Stick 16(3): 1-5

Tlhapi, G. 1999. Cave walls breathe tales of Bushman age.The Express, 10th – 12th March: 18.

Ouzman, S. 2000. Public rock art sites of South Africa: Schaapplaats.Culna55:27-28.

Ouzman, S. 2000. The archaeology of rock-art: toward a mindscape of landscape.Toposcope31:71-80.

Ouzman, S. 2000. Response to Legassick, M. & C. Rasool. Skeletons in the cupboard: South African museums and the trade in human remains 1907-1917: 88-90. Cape Town: South African Museum & McGregor Museum.

Ouzman, S. & Loubser, J. 2000. Art of the apocalypse: southern Africa’s Bushmen Left the Agony of their End Time on Rock Walls. Discovering Archaeology 2(5):38-45.

Eastwood, E., Ouzman, S. & MacWhirter, D. 2000. Koaxa’s shelter: the first public rock art site in the Limpopo-Shashi confluence area of South Africa. The Digging Stick 17(1):1-6.

Ouzman, S. 2000. Archaeology, music and the southern African landscape. Fanfare 2(2):14.

Ouzman, S. 2001. Scaping the land. Introduction to Strijdom van der Merwe's 'Dialogue: drawing white chalk lines in rocks' exhibition, Stellenbosch, South Africa. 13 March - 1 April 2001.

Morris, D. Ouzman, S. & Tlhapi, G. 2001. The Tandjesberg San rock art rehabilitation project: from catastrophe to celebration. The Digging Stick 18(1):1-4.

Ouzman, S.G. 2001. The problems and potentials of developing and managing public rock art sites in southern Africa. Pictogram 12:4-13.

Ouzman, S. 2001. Spoors to the Spirit World. In: Bassett, S.T. (ed.). Rock paintings of South Africa: revealing a legacy: 84-86. Cape Town: David Phillip.

Ouzman, S. 2001. The Great Dance. In: Bassett, S.T. (ed.). Rock paintings of South Africa: revealing a legacy: 108-109. Cape Town: David Phillip.

Ouzman, S. 2002. Thomas Baines’ ‘lost’ rock art site: a 152 year-old mystery solved. The Digging Stick19(1): 6-7.

Ouzman, S. 2002. Archälogie der Innewelt: mindscape und Felskunst der San in Südafrika. Hagia Chora 12/13: 34-39.

Ouzman, S. 2002. Public Rock Art Sites of Southern Africa: Thaba ya Sione. Culna 57:11-13.

Ouzman, S. & Feely, J. 2002. Black or White? The identification and significance of rhinoceros in South African Bushman rock art. The Digging Stick 19(2):9-12.

Tlhapi, G. 2001. Public rock art sites as tourist attractions and outdoor classrooms. Culna 56: 20-21.

Tlhapi, G. 2002. Practical and ethical ways of developing South Africa s Public Rock Art Sites. Culna57:34-3

Book Reviews

Loubser, J. 1991. Review of Bahn, P. & Rosenfeld, A. (eds.). 1991. Rock art and prehistory. Pictogram4:12-14.

Loubser, J. 1993. Review of Woodhouse, H.C. 1992. The rain and its creatures. The Digging Stick10:8-10.

Ouzman, S. 1995. Review of Whitley, D.S. & Loendorff, L.L. (eds.). 1994. New light on old art: recent advances in Hunter-gatherer rock art research. South African Archaeological Bulletin 50:89-90.

Ouzman, S. 1996. Review of Woodhouse, H.C. 1996. The rock art of the Golden Gate and Clarens Districts: an enthusiast’s guide. Rivonia: William Waterman Publications. South African Archaeological Bulletin 51:117-119.

Ouzman, S. 1998. Conversations that captivate, paintings as postscripts. Review article of Deacon, J. & Dowson, T.A. (eds.). 1996. Voices from the past: /Xam Bushmen and the Bleek and Lloyd collection. Johannesburg. Witwatersrand University Press and Schoeman, K. 1997. A debt of gratitude: Lucy Lloyd and the ‘Bushman work’ of G.W. Stow. Cape Town: South African Library. South African Archaeological Bulletin 53 (167):39-43.

Tlhapi, G. 1999. Review of Lewis-Williams, J.D. & Dowson, T.A. 1999. Images of power: understanding San rock art. 2nd Edition. Johannesburg: Southern Book. Southern African Field Archaeology 8(2):108.

Editorials

Loubser, J. 1990. Guest editorial: Skeletons in our cupboards: archaeologists and conservation. South African Archaeological Bulletin 45:71-72.

Loubser, J. 1991. Editorial: Conserving cultural material, a neglected necessity in South African museums. Culna 40:3.

Ouzman, S. 1996. Guest editorial: Archaeo-tourism and images of Africa. Southern African Field Archaeology 5:57-58.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Guest editorial: Translating archaeology. Southern African Field Archaeology6(2):57-60.

Ouzman, S. 1998. Translating museums. Culna 53:1.

Ouzman, S. 1999. Guest editorial: Indigenous intellectual property rights. Southern African Field Archaeology 8(2):57-59.

Edited works

Ouzman, S. (ed.). 1995. The wind blows dust…traces of the /Xam and other San of the central interior.Bloemfontein: Quali-Press.

Ouzman, S. 1997. Guest editor of World Archaeological Congress Newsletter: Southern Africa Focus5:i-xvi.

Video productions

Executive producer of rock art Documentary for Bophutatswana Television. March 1995.

Executive producer of 'The Wind Blows Dust…' walkabout video tour. July 1995.

Internet productions / publications

Ouzman, S. 1996. A rupicoline reminisces on the parallel rumgumptions, retromingencies and rixations of South African and Australian rupestrian researchers. New England Archaeological News 7:4-7.

Ouzman, S. 1997. The World Archaeological Congress Newsletter: Southern Africa Focus 5(1):i-xvi.

Ouzman, S. 1999. Moderator of ‘Rock Art’ discussion group on SA Museums Online.

Ouzman, S. 2002. Ambiguity and ambition for European rock art on-line. Review of EuroPreArt: European Prehistoric art: past signs and present memories. Before Farming 2002/2(9).

Rock Art Site Management

RockArt-managementSouthern African rock art has long been seen as a part of our prehistory that is enjoyed by a select few. Recent attempts to disseminate insights gained from rock art research to as wide an audience as possible in a variety of media have seen some positive interest in rock art. Various rock art publications, be it academic or popular, have revealed that the interpretation and presentation of the art has clearly influenced public perception. This is evident in the demand for visits to rock art sites by learners and local and international travellers. We have welcomed this by continually striving to offer these visitors professionally managed and visually appealing rock art sites.

The Rock Art Department endeavours to convince all South Africans to take ownership of our heritage. Rock art should no longer be perceived as belonging only to ancient communities that are revered from a distance. The incorporation of rock art into South Africa's national coat of arms serves to strengthen the view that our ancient cultures are very much a part of our new nation. The knowledge held in the rock art is ours as this is our nation, not separate from the past, present or future. We are therefore responsible for the preservation of our heritage and we ask that all visitors, local and foreign, gracefully respect this.


Legislation

All rock art is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act (No. 25 of 1999) published in Government Gazette 19974, volume 406, dated 28 April 1999.

National Heritage Resources Act

No 25, 1999

This legislation aims to promote good management of the national estate, and to enable and encourage communities to nurture and conserve their legacy so that it may be bequeathed to future generations. Our heritage is unique and precious and it cannot be renewed. It helps us to define our cultural identity and therefore lies at the heart of our spiritual well-being and has the power to build our nation. It has the potential to affirm our diverse cultures, and in so doing shape our national character.

The National Estate may include (b) ROCK ART, being any form of painting, engraving or other graphic representation on a fixed rock surface or loose rock or stone, which was executed by human agency and which is older than 100 years, including any area within 10m of such representation;


Rock art tourism

Cultural Tourism is a growing financial resource that if handled well, can be socially aware and culturally responsible. If handled badly this form of tourism becomes a disempowering form of cultural appropriation. Anyone wishing to allow public visitation to a rock art site, whether for financial gain or not, must ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation. Opening a rock art site should not be undertaken before you have received professional advice.

It is important to note that you are required by law to apply to the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) before any site is opened for public visitation.


Contact

The Archaeologist
Head Office
South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)
P.O. Box 4637
Cape Town
8001

Tel:  +27 21 462 4502
Fax: +27 21 462 4509

Rock Art Exhibits

The fixed setting of museum environments has done much to contribute to the popular opinion of reverence from a distance, despite countless attempts by archaeologists to erode this belief. Recent museum discourses have explored the contentious issue of visitor experience. Sensory stimulation and educational communication aside, museums are caught up in an intricate web of identity politics. Exhibitions and educational endeavours are constantly being re-evaluated in light of new research into visitor experiences. Our first objective is to dispel the misconception that a museum is only relevant to the past. The aim here is to allow the Museum to connect with and link up to the present. The Rock Art Department endeavours to identify the needs of visitors and meet their expectations of a unique museum experience.


Charles Street Display

Rock-Art-Charles-Street-Display
Knellpoort Rock Art Panel, National Museum

The Charles Street Display is a permanent exhibit that is housed in a specially erected building outside the National Museum, facing Charles Street. This allows passers-by to view the exhibit at all times without leaving the sidewalk. The display is the Knellpoort rock art panel that was rescued from being submerged by the construction of the Knellpoort Dam. With the assistance of the Department of Water Affairs and under the supervision of former Head of the Rock Art Department, Jannie Loubser, this 12 ton rock art panel was cut out of the rock shelter using an intricate drilling process that was completed in July 1988. Photographs of the panel’s removal and installation form part of the exhibit, as well as accompanying sketches of individual images and their descriptions. This information serves to make the exhibit easier to understand.

Public Rock Art Sites

Rock art is a finite and fragile resource and the National Heritage Resources Act (25 of 1999) protects all rock art sites. It is an offence to damage rock art and other archaeological artefacts.

Etiquette when visiting Rock Art Sites

  • Always obtain permission from the landowner or relevant authorities before visiting a rock art site.
  • Visit rock art sites with trained guides.
  • Never touch, lean on or brush against the rock art.
  • Never throw water or any liquid on the images.
  • Never write, scratch or make markings on the images themselves or anywhere in the rock art site.
  • Never remove any archaeological artefacts from rock art sites.
  • Tread carefully and avoid stirring up dust from the floors at rock art sites.
  • Report all vandalism to the police and/or contact the South African Heritage Resource Agency.
  • Respect all rock art sites as places of great spiritual significance to all South Africans.

Bosworth Farm

Location

Located north-west of Klerksdorp, North-West Province, South Africa. Travel north-west out of Klerksdorp, direction Ventersdorp for 2 km on the R30. Turn right onto the Buffeldoorn road and follow this for 20 km. Turn right at the ‘Bosworth Stud’ sign and go to the farmhouse where the Orfords will direct you to the site.

Contact

The Orfords
PO Box 131
Klerksdorp
2570.

Tel & Fax: +27 (0)18 468 7527
E-mail: bosworth@gds.co.za

What is there to see?

A large rock engraving site with over 400 Bushman and Khoe herder rock engravings. The site is notable for the many depictions of human figures. Look out for the charging rhinoceros, the large elephant, the man and ostrich dancing, the flight of birds and the many geometric motifs. Bosworth also has many stone artefacts dating from over 1 million years ago. Please leave everything as you find it.

Additional information

Let the Orfords know you are coming well in advance. A R50.00 visitors' fee is levied for a guided tour. Bosworth is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments. Klerksdorp has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Lewis-Williams, J.D. & Blundell, G. 1998. Fragile Heritage: a rock art fieldguide: pages 114-117. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.


Caledon River Nature Reserve

Location

Located between Wepener and Smithfield, Free State Province, South Africa. Take the R26 out of Wepener, direction Hobhouse for 8,5 km. Turn left onto the R701 dirt road to Smithfield and continue for 9 km until you see the ‘Caledon River Nature Reserve’ sign on your right. Go to the office where you will be assigned a guide who will take you to the site.

Contact

Free State Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism
Welbedacht Dam

Tel: +27 (0)51 583 1920.

What is there to see?

Superbly preserved site with Bushman rock paintings of eland, cattle, hippo, a huge snake, eland and human figures. Visited by the artist Walter Battiss in 1940s. The two panels of the site represent ‘traditional’ and ‘contact’ motifs’ that show how the Bushmen coped with change in the Caledon River Valley.

Additional information

Let Free State Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism know of your visit well in advance as access to the site is by guide only. Access is restricted during the winter hunting season. The town of Wepener has limited facilities and offers a gateway into Lesotho via the Van Rooyenshek border post.

Recommended reading

Loubser J. & Laurens, G. 1994. Depictions of domestic ungulates and shields: hunter-gatherer and agro-pastoralists in the Caledon River valley area. In: Dowson, T.A. & Lewis-Williams, J.D. (eds.).Contested images: diversity in southern African rock art. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.


Doornhoek, Northern Cape

Location

Located near Plooysburg, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel out of Kimberley on the R357, direction Douglas for 54 km. Turn off left at the ‘Plooysburg’ sign. Travel on dirt road for 7,5 km on the dirt road and look for a hidden turn off to the left with animals painted on rocks. Proceed to the farmhouse for directions to the site.

Contact

David Morris
McGregor Museum
PO Box 316
Kimberley
8300.

Tel: +27  53 842 0099
Fax: +27 53 832 9311
E-mail: dmorris@museumsnc.co.za

What is there to see?

Spectacular glaciated pavement in the Riet River covered with hundreds of geometric engravings. These engravings were made by Khoe herders and represent a newly identified southern African rock art tradition. There are a few naturalistic engravings but sunbursts, circles, grids, meandering lines and so on dominate the site.

Additional information

Driekopseiland is best viewed during early morning and late evening. The site is extremely hot in the summer. Plooysburg has no facilities but Kimberley has all facilities. Driekopseiland is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments. Please take your shoes off when walking on and near the site.

Recommended reading

Lewis-Williams, J.D. & Blundell, G. 1998. Fragile Heritage: a rock art fieldguide: pages 76-79. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.


Doornhoek, Gauteng Province

Location

Located between Hekpoort and Magaliesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Travel from Krugersdorp north of Johannesburg on the Hekpoort road. At the T-Junction turn left towards Magaliesburg town on the R24. Approximately 10 km west of Hekpoort is a dirt road to the right marked ‘Nooitgedacht’. Travel for about 6 km until you see the ‘Sunbird Cottage’ sign on your left. Turn in and report at the farmhouse.

Contact

Jo & Chris Yoxen
PO Box 142
Hekpoort
1792

Tel: +27 14 577 2811
E-mail: yoxenc@iafrica.com

What is there to see?

Three clusters of Bushman rock engravings in the distinctive Magaliesberg fineline manner. Rhinoceros, eland – including the unique ‘bisexual eland’, giraffe, zebra, geometric designs. Also the ‘Beatles’ stone and vintage car engravings. Gentle low hills and good views of the Magaliesberg.

Additional information

Accommodation and a variety of activities such as walking, birding, game drives and so forth on the farm and in the area. The farm is on the western edge of the ‘Cradle of Humanity’ that includes the early hominid sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and similar sites in the Bloubankrivier valley.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2001. Seeing is deceiving: rock-art and the non-visual. World Archaeology 33(2):237-256.


Driekopseiland

Location

Located near Plooysburg, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel out of Kimberley on the R357, direction Douglas for 54 km. Turn off left at the ‘Plooysburg’ sign. Travel on dirt road for 7,5 km on the dirt road and look for a hidden turn off to the left with animals painted on rocks. Proceed to the farmhouse for directions to the site.

Contact

David Morris
McGregor Museum
PO Box 316
Kimberley
8300

Tel: +27 53 842 0099
Fax: +27 53 832 9311
E-mail: dmorris@museumsnc.co.za

What is there to see?

Spectacular glaciated pavement in the Riet River covered with hundreds of geometric engravings. These engravings were made by Khoe herders and represent a newly identified southern African rock art tradition. There are a few naturalistic engravings but sunbursts, circles, grids, meandering lines and so on dominate the site.

Additional information

Driekopseiland is best viewed during early morning and late evening. The site is extremely hot in the summer. Plooysburg has no facilities but Kimberley has all facilities. Driekopseiland is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments. Please take your shoes off when walking on and near the site.

Recommended reading

Lewis-Williams, J.D. & Blundell, G. 1998. Fragile Heritage: a rock art fieldguide: pages 76-79. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.


Ganora

Location

Located 8 km east of Nieu Bethesda - home of Helen Martins' `Owl House' - in the Cradock District of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.

Contact

Hester and J.P. Steynberg
Tel: +27 49 841 1302
E-mail: ganora@xsinet.co.za

What is there to see?

Rock shelter in an intricate ravine system with Bushman (San) rock paintings of eland, felines, human figures with shields and spears. There are also lesser-known Khoe (Khoi) finger painted tradition that consists of finger dots, crosses and other enigmatic geometric motifs.

Additional information

Ganora also has an excellent fossil museum, a wool shearing museum, Anglo-Boer war memorabilia, farm tours and comfortable accommodation. The nearby Nieu Bethesda has the famed `Owl House' and many quaint charms.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2001. Ganora public rock art site. RAD internal publication.


Hoekfontein

Location

Located between Clocolan and Ficksburg, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel out of Ficksburg on the R26, direction Clocolan for 8 km. Turn right at the ‘Hoekfontein Ossewa Kamp’ sign and travel on dirt road for 9 km. Turn left into ‘Ossewa Kamp’ where a guide will take you to the site.

Contact

Mr Gerhard Wille
PO Box 354
Ficksburg
9730

Tel: +27 51 933 3915

What is there to see?

There are 3 Bushman rock painting sites at Hoekfontein. Notable is a panel of 14 human figures dancing. 6 of these figures are infibulated – an artistic convention where a bar was drawn across the penis to show the link between hunter and prey. The site also has two very rare ‘Palettes’ that Bushman used to rub to gain supernatural potency. Please don’t rub these palettes! There are also 7 steenbok and an eland depicted. Near the paintings is a Late Iron Age refuge site consisting of 14 stone walled enclosures that dates to Mfecane times between 1790 AD – 1840 AD.

Additional information

Hoekfontein offers accommodation in genuine ox wagons and meals of spit-roasted beef, lamb and game. Ficksburg has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Hoekfontein. Culna.


Kalkoenkraal

Location

Located between Aliwal North and Jamestown, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel 25 km south of Aliwal North, direction Jamestown on the R30. Turn off right just after bridge over Klipspruit and travel 800 m to farmhouse for directions to the site.

Contact

Mr Marinus de Bruin
PO Box 56
Aliwal North
9750

Tel: +27 51 633 3164

What is there to see?

Large frieze of over 200 Bushman rock paintings. There are 3 part-bird, part-human creatures, a ‘monster’ which is part of the pantheon of the Bushman spirit world, birds, eland, elephant, fish, human figures, lions and people fighting. Tranquil setting.

Additional information

Kalkoenkraal is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments and is where A.C. Hoffman – a former Director of the National Museum – suffered a fatal heart attack! Aliwal North has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Kalkoenkraal public rock art sites. RAD internal publication.


Kiara

Location

Located between Clarens and Golden Gate National Park, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel out of Clarens, direction Golden Gate National Park on the R711/712 for 15 km. Turn right at the ‘Kiara Lodge’ sign and checkpoint. Ask at reception for directions to the site.

Contact

The Manager
Kiara Lodge
PO Box 42
Clarens
9707

Tel: +27 58 256 1324
Fax: +27 58 256 1393
E-mail: kiaralodge@iafrica.com

What is there to see?

A small rock shelter with 47 Bushman rock paintings including eland, rhebuck and human figures. This site is truly unique in that it has South Africa’s only unequivocal example of a dassie or rock hyrax (Procavia capensis).

Additional information

Kiara Lodge offers accommodation, meals and fuel. Clarens has accommodation, fuel and limited postal services. Golden Gate National Park is beautiful and has accommodation, meals and fuel. Beyond Golden Gate on the Phuthaditjhaba road is the Basotho Cultural Village – well worth a visit!

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Kiara Lodge. RAD internal publication.


Leliekloof

Location

Located between Burgersdorp and Jamestown, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel south out of Jamestown, direction Queenstown on the R30 for 5 km. Turn right onto Predikantskop road, direction Burgersdorp and travel until you get to the crossroads (about 15 km). Turn right onto dirt road. After 6 km the road has a hairpin bend to the left. The ‘Delila/Leliekloof’ road is on the right just before this bend. Travel to the end of the road and report at the farmhouse.

Contact

The de Klerks
Tel: +27 51 653 1240 or +27 82 761 7975

What is there to see?

Walter Battiss called this the ‘Valley of Art’ on account of its rich collection of Bushman rock paintings. Almost every conceivable subject in 4 painted shelters. Well-preserved and detailed images from the Bushman religious imagination.

Additional information

Getting to the sites requires a reasonable level of fitness. Aliwal North has most facilities. Please book well in advance. The valley is one of the best in South Africa.

Recommended reading

Johnson, R.T. & Maggs, T. 1991. Major rock paintings of southern Africa. Cape Town: David Philip.


Machete and Koaxa’s Shelter

Location

Located in the Limpopo River Valley, Northern Province, South Africa, Machete is located on the Messina – Pont Drif road and can be approached from either sides. Machete is 80 km from Messina (reached via the N1) and 71 km from Alldays on the Pont Drif road – the R521.

Contact

Duncan & Hazel MacWhirter
Machete Natural Heritage Site
PO Box 1100
Messina
0900
South Africa

Tel: +27 15 575 1416 or +27 15 534 0433

What is there to see?

An impressive 25 m long rock shelter called Koaxa’s Shelter with over 190 rock paintings. There are at least 16 animal species depicted, including 13 unique rock paintings of locusts. Look out for the mongooses, the aprons and the geometric finger paintings. This site is the first Public Rock Art Site in the Limpopo Valley.

Additional information

Machete offers day visits, backpacker style camping and luxury accommodation. The farm is a Natural Heritage Site with rich wildlife.

Recommended reading

Eastwood, E., Ouzman, S. & MacWhirter, D. 2000. Koaxa’s Shelter: The first Public Rock Art Site in the Limpopo-Shashi Confluence Area of South Africa. The Digging Stick 17(2):1-6.


Malealea

Location

Located in western Lesotho, Malealea is best approached from the Van Rooyenshek border post at Wepener, South Africa. Travel on the Mafateng road to Motsekuoa and turn right and travel past Matelile and follow the signs. Alternatively, enter Lesotho at Maseru Bridge and travel south-west on Mafateng road turning left at Motsekuoa.

Contact

Di and Mick Jones
Malealea Lodge
PO Box 12118
Brandhof
9342
South Africa

Tel & Fax: +27 51 447 3200/448 3001
E-mail: malealea@pixie.co.za

Web site: http://www.malealea.co.ls

What is there to see?

A large painted shelter with a variety of imagery. Look out for the clear black men, the many eland and the dance.

Additional information

Malealea offers a range of accommodation and meals. It also offers hikes and pony trekking and a taste of authentic Basotho culture.

Recommended reading

Secret South Africa, pages 198 & 199.


Matsieng

Location

Located between Mochudi and Mosomane on the main Gaborone – Francistown road, southern Botswana. Travel 15 km north of Mochudi, direction Francistown until you see the ‘Matsieng’ sign. Turn right onto dirt road and travel until you get to the fenced in site. Report to the site custodian who will show you around the site.

Contact

National Museum
Monuments and Art Gallery
Private Bag 00114
Gaborone
Botswana

Tel: +267 374 616
Fax: +267 302 797

What is there to see?

117 Bushman rock engravings of feline and human footprints. The premier Tswana creation site, Matsieng is the name of the first MoTswana who emerged from a hole in the ground and left his footprints on the still-new landscape. See the ‘bloodstone’ and the natural sumps in the sandstone rock outcrop.

Additional information

A National Monument. Matsieng has toilets and an interpretive centre. Great museum in Mochudi and all facilities in Gaborone.

Recommended reading

Walker, N. 1997. In the footsteps of the ancestors: the Matsieng creation site in Botswana. South African Archaeological Bulletin 52:95-104.


McGregor Museum, Kimberley

Location

2 Egerton Road, Kimberley, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Follow the ‘Diggie Diamond’ route markers.

Contact

David Morris
PO Box 316
Kimberley
8300

Tel: +27 53 842 0099
Fax: +27 53 832 9311
E-mail: dmorris@museumsnc.co.za

What is there to see?

New ‘Ancestors’ Archaeological Gallery. Over 100 Bushman and Khoe rock engravings. Comprehensive archaeological coverage of the Northern Cape Province. Also good Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) military displays.

Additional information

Kimberley has all facilities. There are more rock engravings on display at the William Humphreys Art Gallery. Kimberley is famous for its ‘Big Hole’ made during the diamond rush and the Star of the West is one of South Africa’s oldest working pubs – not for the faint-hearted!

Recommended reading

There is plentiful literature on sale at the museum shop.


Modderpoort

Location

Located between Ladybrand and Clocolan, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel north out of Ladybrand, direction Clocolan on the R26 for 10 km. Turn left at the ‘Modderpoort’ sign and travel 4 km. Cross over the railway line at Modderpoort. Travel 200 m on dirt road and turn off left at ‘St Augustine’s’ sign. Report to reception for the start of a self-guided trail.

Contact

The Lange Family
St Augustine’s Bed & Breakfast
PO Box 28
Modderpoort
9746

Tel & Fax: +27 51 924 3318

What is there to see?

Bushman rock paintings of birds, a cattle raid, eland and human figures. Also home to the sacred sites of the Anglican church, the Sotho prophetess Mantsopa’s grave and the Zionist Christian Church’s Cave Church. Beautiful surroundings and a special atmosphere. A real hierophany.

Additional information

Good accommodation and meals at St Augustine’s. Ladybrand has most facilities and is only 17 km from Maseru, capital of Lesotho. Modderpoort is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments and a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. A visitor fee of R3-00 per person is levied.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Magical Modderpoort. Culna 54:12-13,16.

Moolmanshoek

Location

Near Rosendal, Free State Province, South Africa. Travelling from Bethlehem, Ficksburg or Senekal, take the R70 to Rosendal. Take the S385 for 8.7 km to the farm and lodge where the Nel Family will guide you to the site.

Contact

The Nel Family
PO Box 332
Ficksburg
9730

Tel: +27 519 33 2220
Fax: +27 519 33 2444
E-mail: info@moolmanshoek.co.za

What is there to see?

A large painted cave with an unusual 3 m deep tunnel at the northern end and a spectacular view. There are 47 Bushman rock paintings. These include 2 felines, eland, a shaman transforming into her/his source of animal potency, 7 women with weighted digging sticks and some enigmatic parallel red lines.

Additional information

Moolmanshoek also offers accommodation, walks, 4x4 trails, fly-fishing, hunting, conference facilities and is a Natural Heritage Site (#199).

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2001. Moolmanshoek Site Report. RAD Internal Publication.

National Museum, Bloemfontein

Location

36 Aliwal Street, Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa.

Contact

Sven Ouzman
Rock Art Department
National Museum
PO Box 266
Bloemfontein
9300.

Tel: +27 51 447 9609
Fax: +27 51 447 6273
E-mail: rockart@nasmus.co.za

What is there to see?

Facilities include displays, a shop and a large rock art display within the museum, on Charles Street and at Oliewenhuis Art Museum. See the Bushman diorama, hallucinatory rain-animals and coverage of the Archaeology of South Africa’s central interior. The Rock Art Department also maintains a display series in its offices in Elizabeth Street.

Additional information

Bloemfontein has all facilities. See the Military Museum, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, the Orchid House and the giraffe on top of Naval Hill.

Recommended reading

There is plentiful literature on sale in the museum shop.


Nelspoort

Location

Located 50 km north of Beaufort West and 550 km north of Cape Town on the N1 in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Signs saying ‘Nelspoort’ are encountered both north and south of the small town of Nelspoort. Once there, go to Restvale Primary School or the Sanatorium where you will be assigned a guide. Often the guides are street children from Beaufort West that have received Heritage Training and who now protect the sites as well as find new ones.

Contact

Mr. Lawrence Rathenham: Head: Restvale Primary School
PO Box 350
Beaufort West
6970

Tel & Fax: +27 23 416 1648
E-mail: head@restvale.wcape.school.gov.za

What is there to see?

A vast complex of rock engraving and gong rocks sites. Engravings were made by Bushmen hunter-gatherers, Khoekhoen herder peoples as well as Historic Period names, self-portraits and so forth. Classic doleritic Karoo landscape. There are rare bird-human images, feline tracks, rare human figures, large eland, rhinoceros and elephant engravings. The unique 99 cm long giant buffalo engraving suggests that some of the engravings can be 6 000 years old and even older.

Additional information

Not only rock engravings but ‘gong rocks’ – naturally occurring ironstone/dolerite boulders occur. These have been hit by Bushmen to produce a rhythmic and repetitive, percussive sound that added greatly to the spirituality of the engravings and the rock art sites.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2002. Nelspoort/Klipkraal rock engraving complex. RAD Internal Publication.


Nooitgedacht

Location

Located between Kimberley and Barkly West, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel north-west out of Kimberley, direction Barkly West on the R31 for 20 km until you see the ‘Glaciated pavement’ sign. Turn right onto dirt road. Travel for 6 km and stop beyond stone house at small round roofed structure. Here is a site map for the self-guided tour.

Contact

David Morris
McGregor Museum
PO Box 316
Kimberley
8300

Tel: +27 53 842 0099
Fax: +27 53 832 9311
E-mail: dmorris@museumsnc.co.za

What is there to see?

3 sections of glaciated pavement with over 250 Bushman and Khoe rock engravings. Eland, geometric motifs, giraffe, human figures, rhinoceros and historic graffiti. See the Vaal River in the distance. The site can be very hot in summer.

Additional information

Limited on-site information and it is wise to first visit the McGregor Museum. Nooitgedacht is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments and also the site of alluvial diamond diggings. Kimberley has all facilities. The /Xu and !Khwe Bushman Cultural Project is 8 km south of Nooitgedacht on the R31.

Recommended reading

Morris, D. 1989. Archaeology for tomorrow: the site museum as classroom at Nooitgedacht. SAMAB8:291-294.


Ntlo Kholo

Location

Located between Maseru and Thaba Bosiu, Lesotho. Travel 18 km south-west out of Maseru on St Michael’s road. Turn off left onto dirt road for Ntlo Kholo and report to village headman. It is advisable to use a guide to get you to Ntlo Kholo.

Contact

Eric Theko
Lesotho Protection and Preservation Commission
Lesotho National Museum
PO Box 1125
Maseru
Lesotho

Tel: +266 31304
Fax: +266 310060

Speak to the village headman on arrival – this is essential.

What is there to see?

Rock shelter with Bushman rock paintings of eland – some go into a crack showing the Bushman belief of a spirit world that existed behind the rock – human figures and enigmatic motifs. Behind the village is the large cliff into which houses and the ‘Great Hut’ of Ntlo Kholo are built.

Additional information

You must take a guide from the village and you must ask permission of the headman. Thaba Bosiu, premier Basotho cultural site, is nearby and worth a visit. Maseru has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Ntlo Kholo public rock art site. RAD internal publication.


Qwa Qwa National Park

Location

Qwa Qwa National Park, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel on R712 from Clarens, through Golden Gate National Park for 10 km until you see the ‘Honingkloof’ or ‘Klerksvlei’ sign. Turn right and report at the office. A guide will take you to the ‘Heuweltop’ rock painting site. Prior arrangement is essential.

Contact

Basotho Cultural Village
PO Box 403
Kestell
9860

Tel: +27 58 721 0300
Fax: +27 58 721 0304
E-mail: basotho@dorea.co.za

What is there to see?

Unique Bushman rock painting of two crabs. Also rare painted animal spoor and quivers. Beautiful shaded eland and human figures. The whole cliff line is one big site with 3 ‘pulses’ at which paintings occur.

Additional information

Accommodation and meals available at Golden Gate National Park and Clarens. The Basotho Cultural Village is only 10 km from Qwa Qwa National Park and well worth a visit.

Recommended reading

Lewis-Williams, J.D., den Hoed, P., Dowson, T.A. &Whitelaw, D.A. 1986. Two crabs in a box. The Digging Stick 3(1):1.


Schaapplaats

Location

Near Clarens, Free State Province, South Africa. Travelling from Fouriesburg to Clarens on R711, pass the Clarens turn off on the left and take the next turn to the right. Travel to the end of the road where the Walwyns will give you directions to the site.

Contact

The Walwyns
PO Box 53
Clarens
9707

Tel: +27 58 256 1176
Fax: +27 58 256 1258
E-mail: dwalwyn@rdd.aeci.co.za

What is there to see?

A large painted cave with 35 Bushman rock paintings. These include 8 paintings of therianthropes or part-human, part-animal beings that represent Bushman shamans utilising the potency of certain powerful animals whilst in an altered state of consciousness. Also nice eland and a rhebuck hunt. Look out for the fossil footprint at the site.

Additional information

The Walwyns offer accommodation and meals, as does the town of Clarens. Schaapplaats is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2000. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Schaapplaats. Culna 55: 8-10.


Slypsteenberg

Location

Located within the city limits of Bloemfontein, capital of the Free State Province, South Africa.

Contact

Sven Ouzman
Rock Art Department
National Museum
PO Box 266
Bloemfontein
9300

Tel: +27 51 447 9609
Fax: +27 51 447 6273
E-mail: rockart@nasmus.co.za

What is there to see?

A large Bushman/San engraving site with about 80 images including baboon, eland, ‘goats’, human figures, a rain-animal and some large quadrupeds. The site is also used for mining – people looking for a legendary missionary treasure. Further, the site is used in Sotho boys’ initiation ceremonies. For this reason, visits to the site are by appointment only.

Additional information

Bloemfontein has all facilities, including the National Museum.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1999. Slypsteenberg public rock art site. RAD internal publication.


Spitskop

Location

Located 12 km west of Verkeerdevlei on the link road to the N1 in the Brandfort District, Free State Province, South Africa.

Contact

Nico and Sandra Vivier
PO Box 77
Verkeerdevlei
9401

Tel: +27 51 841 1086

What is there to see?

Spitskop site complex consists of three San or ‘Bushman’ as well as Khoe or ‘Khoi’ rock-engraving sites located on adjacent farms. These sites are all within sight of the 1580 m high sandstone mountain known as Spitskop. There are images of eland – one is 1.35 m long – geometric forms, human figures, ostrich and also the remains of a mysterious historic settlement. Tragically, the last gathering and hunting San was shot 15 km from the farm in the 1860s.

Additional information

Spitskop is a functioning B&B and farm tours are also available.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2001. Spitskop rock-engraving site complex. RAD internal publication.


Sterkstroom

Location

Located between Rouxville and Aliwal North, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel north out of Aliwal North on N6, direction Rouxville. Cross the Orange River and travel for 6 km. Turn right onto dirt road. Continue for 24 km and turn right at large bluegum tree where the Lombaards will give you directions to the site.

Contact

The Lombaards
Diepkloof
Rouxville
9958

Tel: +27 5572 1230 or +27 51 663 1230

What is there to see?

A spectacular 18 m long wall of Bushman rock paintings. Baboon, eland, elephant, hartebeest, monsters, spirit world beings and much more. The famous rain-animal of the Bushman chief Baartman. Look also for the smallest known painting of a buck in South Africa. Look also at the Khoe geometric motifs at the far end of the shelter. Visit the waterhole 300 m downstream where the spirit world rain-animal was believed to live.

Additional information

Aliwal North has most facilities. The site can be hot in summer. Look out for game and rich birdlife in the area.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1998. Sterkstroom public rock art site. RAD internal publication.


Stowlands

Location

Located 4 km from Christiana, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel east out of Christiana on the R708, in the direction of Boshof. Cross over the Vaal River and 100 m on is a ‘Rock engraving’ sign. Turn left onto a dirt road and travel for 4 km. Turn left at the ‘Stowlands’ sign and report to the farmhouse for directions and site key.

Contact

Mr Roy Fourie
PO Box 2036
Potchefstroom
2520

Tel: +27 148 294 8780.

What is there to see?

Over 320 Bushman and Khoe rock engravings scattered on the summit of a hill overlooking the Vaal River. Elephant, geometric motifs, giraffe, human figures rhino, spirit-world animals, weird beasts. Look out for the hermaphrodites and the ‘rhinopotamous’. Look carefully as some images are old and hard to see.

Additional information

Stowlands is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments. Early morning and late afternoons are best for viewing the engravings. There is also the Phillipson-Stow and Nel graveyard and an Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) fortification to see. Christiana has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1998. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Stowlands. Culna 53:5-6.


Tandjesberg

Location

Located between Ladybrand and Clocolan, Free State Province, South Africa. Travel north-east out of Ladybrand, direction Clocolan on the R26 for 10 km. At the ‘Modderpoort’ sign turn right onto a dirt road. Travel until you get to a T-junction. Turn left and cross over the bridge. Just after you pass a road going off to the left, there is a ‘Tripolitania’ sign on the left. Turn in here and go to the farmhouse for directions and key to the site and game reserve.

Contact

Mr Liguori
Tripolitania
PO Box 137
Ladybrand
9745.

Tel & Fax: +27 51 924 2036 or +27 51 924 2475

What is there to see?

Small, spectacular shelter with over 500 Bushman rock paintings. See bees, birds, cattle, exotic elephant, a frenetic medicine dance, animated human figures, rain-animals and the enigmatic ‘weird white’ tradition. Archaeological excavations establish that Bushmen lived here for at least 1 000 years. An important pilgrimage site located among the impressive tandjes or ‘teeth’ of sandstone.

Additional information

Tandjesberg is one of South Africa’s 12 Rock Art National Monuments. A site maintenance fee of R10-00 per person is levied. Facilities include a stone floor and interpretative redrawings. Ladybrand has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1997. Public rock art sites of the Free State: Tandjesberg. Culna 52:32-34.


Thaba Bosiu

Location

Located at Thaba Bosiu, premier National Monument of Lesotho, 25 km south-east of Maseru, capital of Lesotho.

Contact

Eric Theko
Lesotho Protection and Preservation Commission
Lesotho National Museum
PO Box 1125
Maseru
Lesotho

Tel: +266 31304
Fax: +266 310060

Speak to the village headman on arrival – this is essential.

What is there to see?

Apart from being the stronghold of King Moshoeshoe I, founder of the Basotho nation, there is also a rock art site on Thaba Bosiu. The site is hidden but it is worth seeking out as it contains a rare Bushman rock painting of a plant. This plant – a Brunsvigia – has many medicinal properties. Also painted are eland, a Basotho shield and a giraffe – an animal that is and was exotic to this area.

Additional information

Contact Lesotho Tourism for brochures on attractions in Lesotho. Maseru has most facilities. It is essential to have a guide to find the rock painting site and access is only for the fit.

Recommended reading

Loubser, J.H.N. &. Zietsman, P. 1994. Rock paintings of the postulated Brunsvigia sp. (Amaryllidaceae) at Thaba Bosiu, western Lesotho. South African Journal of Science 90:611-612.


Thaba Sione

Location

Located 60 km south-west of Mmabatho, North-West Province, South Africa. Travel south-west out of Mmabatho, direction Vryburg on the R49 until you intersect with the R375. Turn left and travel for 25 km until you get the ‘Khunhanwa’ sign. Turn right onto the dirt road and travel until you get to Thaba Sione.

Contact

Wait at the site – which is in the middle of town – for someone to help you.

What is there to see?

Over 559 engravings. A major Bushman spiritual site dominated by depictions of rhinoceros – some of which have been rubbed smooth. There is also buffalo, eland, isolated animal horns, shamanic human figures, a rare lizard, wildebeest. Many rocks have been rubbed smooth by rhinoceros. The site is still important today to local Tswana people and is used by the Zionist Christian Church as a rain-making centre.

Additional information

The engravings are best viewed at early morning and late afternoon. This area is flat, dry and dusty with few facilities. Mmabatho has most facilities.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 1996. Thaba Sione: place of rhinoceroses and rain-making. African Studies 55(1):31-59.


Thomas' Farm – Belmont

Location

Located 90 km south-west of Kimberley and 30 km north-east of Hope Town on the N12, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The site is well sign-posted.

Contact

Lieb and Ella Liebenberg
PO Box 330
Hopetown
8750

Tel: +27 53 204 0049 or +27 82 749 6685

What is there to see?

Over 70 Bushman and Khoe rock engravings. See the large eland, rhino and the resounding gong rock. There are also many Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) relics, a war cemetery and an entire ghost campground. Thomas’ Farm has a natural spring and the water is bottled on the farm.

Additional information

There is extensive and enigmatic stone walling next to the farmhouse. The Liebenberg’s offer self-catering or catered B& B accommodation.

Recommended reading

Information booklet available at the farm.


Wildebeestkuil

Location

Located between Kimberley and Barkly West, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel north-west out of Kimberley, direction Barkly West on the R31 for 14 km until you see a low hill and white building (the Interpretative Centre) on the left. Turn into the parking lot and report to the Interpretative Centre.

Contact

The !Xun and Khwe Association & Northern Cape Rock Art Trust
Private Bag X5055
Kimberley
8300

Tel & Fax: +27 53 861 1866
E-mail: xukhwe@iafrica.com

What is there to see?

Over 300 Bushman and Khoe rock engravings. See buck spoor, dancing human figures, elephant, geometric motifs, goat-like animals, and incised horse from more recent times, the lion with two tails, rhinoceros and wildebeest.

Additional information

This is the first time in modern South African history that the San legally own and manage a rock engraving site of their ancestors. Wildebeestkuil has been fully developed with walkways, audio tours, guides and Interpretative Centre. An excellent shop has authentic contemporary artworks as well as handicrafts on sale. Drinks and snacks are also available. There is extensive and enigmatic stone walling at Wildebeestkuil. Some of it is recent; some may relate to the engravers. Great view over the flat landscape.

Recommended reading

Morris, D. 1987. Excursion to Wildebeestkuil, Klipfontein, Driekopseiland and Vaalpan. 4th Rock Art Colloquium. Kimberley, October 1987.


Woodcliffe

Location

Located on the Little Pot River 35 km north-east of Maclear on the Naudesnek Pass road, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Travel north-west out of Maclear for 30 km until you see the 'Woodcliffe Cave trails' sign to the left. Follow this road for 5 km and report in at farmhouse.

Contact

Phyl Sephton
Woodcliffe Cave Trails
PO Box 65
Maclear
5480.

Tel: +27 45 932 1550 or +27 82 925 1030
E-mail: psephton@intekom.co.za

What is there to see?

Two sites with over 200 Bushman rock paintings. See the strange feline, the unique circle of seated human figures, the feline, the weird 'pinks', the buck painted on the ceiling, the thin red line and many eland.

Additional information

There is enigmatic stone walling, birdlife in abundance - this is a hatchery area for blue cranes - rugged and beautiful landscape in which to walk.

Recommended reading

Ouzman, S. 2000. The rock art of Woodcliffe. RAD Internal Publication.

Links to other institutions

International bodies

International Federation of Rock Art Organisations

UNESCO World Heritage Commission and ICOMOS

The Bradshaw Foundation, a world-wide rock art preservation group


Africa

Rock Art Research Institute

Kuru Kalahari Art Project Botswana


Indigenous Southern Africans

http://www.xukhwe.co.za


Americas

American Rock Art Research Association


Asia

Rock art of China

Rock art of India


Australia

Australian Rock Art Research Organisation


Europe

TRACCE Online rock art bulletin


France

Take a look at the Lascaux Cave and its rock art (this web site won the International Academy of Digital Art's "Webby Award 2000".


Feedback

Contact us on any aspect of rock art – report new sites, vandalism, raise concerns, ask questions, offer answers - at:  rockart@nasmus.co.za

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