Rock Art

Geometric 3ROck painting for column on presentation page

Finger-painted geometric tradition rock art, like the panels above, is thought to have been painted by Khoekhoen herders and occurs throughout Namaqualand in very low densities. It is quite unlike fine-line rock art (see below, left) that was painted by Bushmen hunter-gatherers and tends to be found mainly in the mountains of the Cederberg and Drakensberg.

16Although only occurring in certain broad areas, fine-line art was usually painted in relatively prominent locations wherever a suitable canvas presented itself.  Geometric art, on the other hand, was often hidden from view and associated with water sources, be they rivers or pans. When you’re herding a flock of sheep across the landscape water becomes quite important!

In the relatively flat interior of South Africa where cliffs are generally absent, engravings are more commonly found. These also include two broad styles, either fine engraved lines (see left) or else coarser lines and shapes engraved by pecking the rock surface with another stone.