Talking Stone Rock Art Coso America USA Documentary Film

ROCK ART PAINTINGS IN THE NIASSA RESERVE - NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE

THE ROCK ART OF MOZAMBIQUE

 
 
Rock Art Mozambique Africa Niassa Reserve
Radiocollared lions in the Niassa Reserve
Managed by the Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa (SRN), the Niassa Reserve is vast and remote wilderness area of 42,000 sq km in northern Mozambique. There are approximately 25,000 people living inside the Reserve primarily from the Cyao and Makua tribal groups with some Ngoni, Marave and Matambwe people. Currently, Keith and Colleen Begg (the resident chief researchers) are studying carnivores along the Lugenda River in the Reserve.
 
While tracking one of the radiocollared lions in November 2005 they discovered what appeared to be paintings on the lower overhangs (north facing, 270m asl) of a large boulder which forms the end slope of a granite inselberg called Nkopola. The lion regularly rests in this spot in the shade of the boulder. Once the lion moved off they were able to investigate further. The paintings are primarily in an area of 0.5 x 0.5m with some additional marks on the south facing side (these might have been degraded as they are more exposed). Many of the paintings are parallel lines of fingertip sized dots, others are circles with three adjoining lines extending like fingers, or arcs of dots. They are primarily reddish in colour.
 
Rock Art Mozambique Africa Niassa Reserve
Rock Art in the Niassa Reserve
Rock Art Mozambique Africa Niassa Reserve
Rock Art in the Niassa Reserve
 
The Beggs explored further in the immediate vicinity and found another site about 100 m away (283 asl), on the edge of a cave. These paintings are fainter but they appear to be two figures with additional lines and dots (red paint), there were also some fragments of pottery in the cave. The area is elevated above the surrounding Miombo woodland within 2 km of the Lugenda River. The boulder and associated small koppie system are unusual in this immediate area (although inselbergs are common) and Keith and Colleen could envisage why this area might be of spiritual significance as it is in a very special spot, and the boulder is an obvious landmark.
 
Rock Art Mozambique Africa Niassa Reserve
Rock Art in the Niassa Reserve
Rock Art Mozambique Africa Niassa Reserve
Rock Art in the Niassa Reserve
 
Less than a kilometre away at the base of the same inselberg on the southeastern side is an old smelting site with slag remains of tuyeres and hundreds of fragments of pottery. The researchers have also found other smelting sites of a similar nature in the region, although these might date from a different time. When the Beggs asked some of the older local people who fish and honey-gather in the area about the paintings, they did not know anything about them but suggested the smelting site was probably the work of Ngoni people long ago
 
Photographs by Keith & Colleen Begg/SRN
Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa (SRN) www.niassa.com
 
Africa Rock Art Archive
 
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