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Drakensberg rock art dating

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The rock art in the u Khahlamba Drakensberg Park (shown in this picture) is about 3 000 years old.Source: dating techniques have improved a great deal over the years and today we have confirmed that some of the rock art found in South Africa, at the u Khahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, is about 3 000 years old, instead of about 1 000 years, which was the initial estimate. South African rock art was only discovered about 350 years ago and the first European people to see it thought it primitive. They provide a link to the past because they tell the story of the lives of these hunter-gatherers. There are thousands of rock paintings and engravings in South Africa and some museums also have collections that are open to the public.

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Protecting our treasure It is very important to protect and conserve our wealth of rock art and UNESCO and the u Khahlamba Park help to protect the paintings.A short walk takes you to the cave, which features 500 rock paintings, some of which are estimated to be around 800 years old.In Ndedema Gorge 3 900 paintings have been recorded at 17 sites, more than 1 000 in the Sebaayeni Cave.Several other images of animals are depicted there too, along with the flesh blood-red handprints that are the signature of the unknown artist.According to Thomas Dowson, “a lot of rock art is actually in symbols and metaphors.” For example, eland bulls, meant marriage, and curing or the trance dance.that the artists used in their paints to give their images potency.

The rock on which the images were painted was seen as a veil between the spirit world and ours.

South Africa is regarded as having the richest collection of rock art in the world with examples in national parks and nature reserves around the country.

Beyond the initial belief that San rock art was a record of daily life, much of their work is now thought to portray the specific San experience of spirit world jouneys and the experience of San shamans (known as the shamanistic hypothesis).

Pick up booklets on rock art from the tourism bureaus at both Citrusdal and Clanwilliam.

Visit the following: Over 20 000 individual rock paintings in some 500 caves and overhang sites between Royal Natal National Park and Bushman’s Neck in the Drakensberg are now protected as a World Heritage Site.

There are thousands of examples of San rock art and paintings throughout the country, with the most significant of these found in the u Khahlamba Drakensberg Park in Kwa Zulu-Natal where much of the rock art in South Africa is believed to be around 3 000 years old.