Friday, April 22, 2011


Ancient school ground?

Twyfelfontein ( in Africaans meaning uncertain spring ) is in Namibia's southern Kunene region. This World Heritage site covers an area of the Huab Valley and contains many areas of rock art etched on the reddish sandstone rocks on the slopes of the surrounding table mountain landforms. Over 5,000 individual depictions have now been catalogued, some thought to date as far back as 5- 6,000 years ago by the early hunter-gatherers. Later Khoikhoi inhabitants of the area produced their own rock engravings and paintings.

Visitor centre at Twyfelfontein

Leave a tip for the toilet.

The artwork upon rocks scattered through the area.

Typical terrain of the Heritage Site.

Zebra, gazelle and giraffe depictions.

Many reasons are given for why early humans would spend so much time decorating rocks or cave walls. Has the need to express one's artistic sense been with us from earliest times? Did early man just get bored and feel like graffiti covering his cave or environment not unlike rebellious youth of today? Or perhaps a need to give offerings to their belief in the gods they found all around them in everyday life?

But perhaps in many cases there is a simpler and more practical reason for so many paintings or engravings of animals and humans in a small area- a school!
Yes, a school, or a teaching aid for the young boys of a tribe. When being initiated into manhood, young boys would be brought to these rocks and given lessons from their elders how to identify, hunt and kill an animal.
Today we build multi- million dollar universities.



JIM said...

Must be a fascinating place to visit... I guess back then I would have been a wall drawer lol excellent piece

Anna L. Walls said...

And what do teachers do in those multi-million dollar collages? They draw on chalkboards. hahaha

Jim said...

Hi Jim, yes you'd have to scratch a picture on a rock! No cameras in those days.

Hi Anna, Yep you need a diploma these days to go hunt a gazelle! And cam clothes instead of a loin cloth!

Nelieta said...

Hi Jim, Afrikaans is my native language! Great post.


Thanks for the visit Jim much appreciated,

I found your post most interesting. the pictures were excellent.

Mary Hudak-Collins said...

Jim, I always love your photos and stories! Keep it up, they are wonderful. Thanks for sharing :)

Sylvia Ney said...

Amazing. Great photos. Thank you for sharing! I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

Unknown said...

Jim very very very interesting! The more I read your posts the more urgent my need to have a long chat with you increases. I am sure I won't blink an eye when you speak : )

Anonymous said...

Really interesting, Jim. I think at the heart of all art is communication--teaching and sharing experiences.