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Going in depth with rock art

The Namibia Scientific Society will be launching the book, ‘Painted Stories- A Guide to the Rock Art of AiAiba’, by Peter Breunig and Gabriele Franke, on 18 July at 19:00.

Breuning said his book is extremely important and valuable because there is a simple reason for the urgency in rock art research.

“Rock is exposed to natural and human influences which are inexorably leading to its disappearance. In many cases on AiAiba, the paintings are already so faded that they can barely be perceived with the naked eye, and for now, they can still be recovered using digital technology. But here too we will eventually reach a point beyond which they are lost forever,” he added.

The Scientific Society said people who are interested in rock art often as the same three questions, how old is it? Who created it? What was its purpose? “Archaeologist Breunig investigated the rock art of AiAiba (Anibib Farm) in the Erongo Mountains, one of the richest rock art areas of Namibian and in painted stories he closely examined those rock paintings, using them as an example of the prehistoric treasure trove which can tell us about the world view of Namibia’s ancient hunter-gatherers,” they added.

They said while renowned archaeologist Henri Breuil counted 344 paintings in the mid-20th century, Breuning, using modern digital methods, makes the invisible visible and recorded 4914 paintings in 208 sites, 14 times the number known in Breuil’s day.

“Breuining addresses the 3 questions and gives valuable insight into the representational world of Namibia’s prehistoric peoples in a fascinating reader-friendly way. The many photographs, digital drawings, and descriptions in this book will preserve the rock paintings for generations to come,” they added.

Professor  Peter Breuining (emeritus) was head of the Department of African Archaeology and Archaeobotany at the Goethe University’s Institute for Archaeological Sciences in Frankfurt/Main and is a renowned and highly regarded Africanist archaeologist whose interest in Namibia rock art began in the 1980s.

Dr. Gabriele Franke is an Africanist archaeologist at the Goethe University and the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt/Main with a special interest in rock art.


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.