|A1/3. Example of ﬁne-line Later Stone Age paintings studied by the archaeologists. Bonneau/Antiquity|
For the first time, researchers have directly dated rock art in Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa.
For years, archaeologists have known that southern Africa is home to very rich and well-understood rock art produced by hunter-gatherers in the Later Stone Age, but they had been unable to date these creations precisely.
Using an innovative approach, researchers have now come up with new dates, which suggest that in south-eastern Botswana, rock art was created as far back as 5723–4420 cal BP – the oldest such evidence found to date in Southern Africa. Their complete findings are now published in the Journal Antiquity.
Hunter-gatherer rock art in Southern Africa is made up both of paintings and engravings, which were produced by ancient communities associated with the present-day San (bushmen) culture. A lot of research has been successfully conducted about how to interpret this art.
"Thanks to studies conducted between the 18th and 20thby the Dutch and British settlers as well as current ethnographic research, we have a good understanding of San rock art. They painted to represent what the Shamans had seen during their journeys in the world of the spirits so that the rest of the population could see it", lead author Adelphine Bonneau, post-doctoral fellow at Laval University (Canada), told IBTimes UK. [...] ibtimes.co.uk