Engraving in Namibia shows detailed human and animal tracks carved in stone
Finding engravings of animal tracks and human footprints isn't unexpected - especially in Namibia.
Archaeologists examined ancient engravings of animal tracks and human footprints carved on rock with the help of Indigenous trackers. Although the results indicate a pattern in the animal species depicted, the context and meaning behind this pattern are hard to interpret.
Namibian rock artists of the Later Stone Age carved detailed human and animal prints. The engravings were so detailed that even present-day trackers could identify the animals, their age - and even sex.
Finding engravings of animal tracks and human footprints isn't unexpected - especially in Namibia. The country houses an abundance of such hunter-gatherer rock art from the Later Stone Age. However, most research into prehistoric rock art left these engravings under-researched.
Nevertheless, the new study by Andreas Pastoors of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and colleagues aims to change this by analysing these footprints.
Figure . C: Andreas Pastoors, CC-BY 4.0
Enlisting the help of Indigenous tracking experts from the Kalahari desert, the team was able to define the species, sex and even the age of the animal or human in around 500 engravings.
Although the work showed that rock art depicted a diverse range of animals, the engravers favoured certain species and carved adult animals more than juveniles. Therefore, the team believes the new findings reveal patterns emerging from culturally-determined preferences. Nevertheless, the meaning and context of these patterns will likely remain elusive.