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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Discovery of New Rock Paintings in the Horn of Africa: The Rockshelters of Las Geel, Republic of Somaliland
Authors:Gutherz, XavierISNI
Cros, Jean-Paul
Lesur, JoséphineISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Archaeology
Geographic terms:Somalia
Subjects:rock art
Anthropology and Archaeology
Architecture and the Arts
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43135323
Abstract:An archaeological survey was carried out by a French team in November and December 2002 in the Somaliland Republic. The objective was to search for rock shelters and caves containing stratified archaeological infills capable of documenting the period when a production economy appeared in this part of the Horn of Africa (circa 5th and 2nd millennia BC). The Las Geel site, a granite rock sheltering about ten shelters decorated with polychrome paintings, was discovered in the course of the survey. These paintings, in an excellent state of preservation, mainly represent humpless cows with large lyre-shaped or arched horns and necks decorated with a kind of 'plastron'. The cows are accompanied by stocky human figures with spindel-shaped legs and raised arms. There are also some figures of canidae placed beside men, a single giraffe and some antelopes. The evident superposition of several graphic styles will no doubt make it possible to establish a chronology of Neolithic or Protohistoric rock art in this part of the Horn of Africa. Through the abundance of its paintings, their quality, the originality of the type of representation of bovines and human figures, the Las Geel site will henceforth take its place among the major Holocene sites of rock art in this region of Africa. The present note constitutes a preliminary presentation of this exceptional discovery. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]