Title of the session


Session Organizer(s)

Dr Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu

Delivery format


Nature of a session

Open for Contributions

Session abstract

The African continent is richly endowed with rock art, both paintings and engravings. This artistic tradition has attracted much research interest, initially from rock art enthusiasts and later trained rock art researchers. As such, the history of rock art studies in the African continent is long, having also been influenced by colonialism. Over time, a lot of insights have been gained, thus helping us understand the reasons behind why it was rock art was produced. However, it is evident that there has been uneven research of rock art within the continent, with some regions attracting far greater interest from rock art researchers. Among these are the uKhahlamba Drakensberg in South Africa, Tsodilo Hills in Botswana, Matopos in Zimbabwe, and Brandberg/Daureb in Namibia in southern Africa. In particular, these localities have become the ‘windows of the past that have provided much of the interpretation of southern African rock art and beyond. By comparison, rock art from East and West African regions has not been extensively studied to the same extent as that from Southern and North Africa. There are four aims of the proposed session: (i) reviewing the eminent personalities that have dominated rock art studies, (ii) to provide a regional overview of the history of the rock art research in the African continent, (iii) to present the general interpretation of rock art per each of the regions, and (iv) to critically assess areas of interest for ongoing rock art studies within the continent

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