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Rock Art Namibia Africa

Rock Art of Twyfelfontein, Namibia, Africa
A Survey into the Relationship between
Animal-Engravings and Cupules

Captions to the figures

Captions to the figures included the Twyfelfontein Rock Art section

Rock Art of Twyfelfontein in Namibia, Africa

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It has been decided to include the captions to the figures at the end of the survey because it proved that in many instances the captions were so extensive that they would not fit correctly near the figures in question.


Figure Description / Caption

Distribution map of rock art and cupule sites in Namibia. Based on maps in Coulson & Campbell 2001 and Lenzen-Erz & Erz 2000. Framed area: Figure 3. Sites have only approximately been indicated. A site-square symbol on the map covers a surface of approximately 150 km2. Each square may therefore indicate several rock-art sites. The numbers refer to the sites mentioned in the text: e.g. 1 = Twyfelfontein, etc.

Distribution map of the rock-art sites near the sandstone plateau at Twyfelfontein. Contours based on the Ordnance Survey Map 1:50.000, Sheet 2014CB - Verbrandeberg, South West Africa, 1980. Framed area 4 is the area around the spring at Twyfelfontein, which is shown in detail in Figure 14. Not every individual engraved rock is marked, especially at the dense concentration within the framed area 4.

Map of the rock-art sites of the area between Uis and Kamanjab, Damaraland, Namibia. Based on the maps in Scherz 1975: Figs 45 and 66, and on the statistics in his Liste 5. A black square on the map covers a surface of approximately 4 km2. Each square may therefore indicate several rock-art sites.

Twyfelfontein Site 1. Photo of stone 1.1, looking north. The engravings are hidden by the large overlying rock (Stone A) and are in the shade. Side view of the whole complex of site 1, looking S. P = Paintings; E = Engravings.

Twyfelfontein Site 1.1. Plan of the engravings. The northernmost part is rather inaccessible and the layout of the engravings has been estimated from several photographs.

Twyfelfontein Site 1.1. Detail of the engravings, looking west. Notice the heavily weathered zone at the top of the photograph. The north arrow is placed upon overlying block A (see Figure 4).

Twyfelfontein Site 2.1. Part of the engraved panel showing rows of dots and (below) random cupules and many animal engravings. Below the rows is a so-called "phallus" symbol. Notice the engravings of hand and feet and the many spoor.

Twyfelfontein Site 2.1. Details of two instances of spoor engravings apparently combined with cupules.

Twyfelfontein Site 2.2. The two groups of rows of dots and points and some (possibly natural) cupules on the same huge wall of stone 2.2, looking SE.

Twyfelfontein Site 3. Photo of the flat lying stone 3.2 and the huge upright slab of O4, looking NE. Inset: side view of the whole group looking SW with the cupule rocks indicated as stones 3.1 (the needle) and 3.2 (the large recumbent slab).

Twyfelfontein Site 3.1. The engravings of the upper panel of the needle-shaped stone.

Twyfelfontein Site 3.1. The engravings of the lower panel of the needle-shaped stone.

Twyfelfontein Site 3.2. Part of the large recumbent slab showing the position of the cupules. White interior: outline engravings; the darker the interior shading, the more deeply pecked the interior of the animal is. Photo of the part of stone 3.2 that bears cupules.

Distribution map of the rock-art sites of Twyfelfontein Site 4 based on our surveys in 2001. Not all rocks with "other rock art" have been indicated. Sven Ouzman was so kind to check the location of some of the engraved panels for me in March 2002. However, any inaccuracy on this map is completely my responsibility.

A: Twyfelfontein Site 4.2. Cupules and geometric designs, clearly differently patinated. B: Crude cupules surrounded by large rings at stone 4.1.3.1. Modified after Scherz 1975: Tafel 118.2. C: Detail of the rows of "cupules" on the north side of stone 4.1.2. D: Detail of the rows of "cupules" on the south side of stone 4.1.2.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.4. Detail of the cupules arranged in triangles.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.5. The framed parts refer to Figures 18 and 19. 

Twyfelfontein Site 4.5. Drawing of two engraved birds associated with cupules. The arrows are explained in the text. Photo of the same ensemble.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.5. Detail.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.6. The upper surface of the heavily flaked stone showing what is left of originally more engravings. Looking N. 1 is the original (decorated) surface; 2 is the surface that has been flaked (naturally or culturally?) long ago; 3 is the recently flaked surface. The old contact zone of surface 1 and 2 is clearly indicated by small band of different colouring caused by chemical action. Notice the engraved footprint with six toes. See Figure 58 for the upper part of this surface.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.7. The hollow to the right is natural, but may have been significant to prehistoric people. Looking NE against the near-vertical face of the stone.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.8.1. Detail of the engravings associated with cupules. Looking S against the near-vertical face of the stone.

Detail of Twyfelfontein Site 4.9, showing four of the rows of cupules. The longest row superimposes a crudely pecked oval. Looking W.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.10. A: Photo of part of the right-hand panel looking E against the slightly overhanging surface. B: Detail of the left-hand panel.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.11. Part of the stone featuring possible engravings and cupules.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.12. Detail of the part featuring the rosettes of small cupules. Looking N. The slab slopes towards the observer.

Cupules associated with oryx. A: Twyfelfontein Site 4.13. B: Twyfelfontein Site 4.15.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.14. Detail of engravings associated with cupules. Looking S against the vertical rock surface.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.16. Engravings near the southern edge at the NE end of the stone.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.16. Engravings on the central part at the NE end of the stone. The photo shows the large split boulder 4.17 and the slightly NE sloping slab 4.16 to the right of 4.17. The engravings are on the lower (right-hand) part of 4.16. Looking NW across Twyfelfontein Visitor Centre and the valley beyond towards Site M and the dry waterfall in the side valley.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.17. Drawing of a part of the engravings on the west face of a large boulder situated on the small plain just north of the "Carstenplatte" (see photo Figure 29).

Twyfelfontein Site 4.18. Photo of the alleged cupules on the east part of the "Carstenplatte". Looking SW. An enormous boulder immediately north of the "Carstenplatte" hides the feet of the lower giraffe. Inset: detail of some of the "cupules". Measurements could not be taken, but the average diameter was estimated at 2 to 3 cm.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.18. Detail of the little animal on the "Carstenplatte". Measurements could not be taken.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.19. Detail of the cupules near the remarkable spoor engravings.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.20. Photo of the south part of the broken slab in the riverbed. Inset 1: A very faint cupule plus ringmark on the central part of the western half of the stone. Inset 2: Detail of the oryx-cupule combination on the west edge of the stone.

Twyfelfontein Site 4.21.1. Photograph by Sven Ouzman, March 2002. No north arrow available.

Part of the engraved rock 34-A at Luine, Valcamonica, Italy. Modified after Anati 1999: Fig. 3. No scale given.

A: Detail of the engraved outcrop at Hede, Bohuslän, Sweden. Length of animal 20cm. B: Detail of the engraved outcrop at Bedolina, Valcamonica, Italy. Modified after Beltràn LLoris 1972: Fig. 44. No scale given. Notice that the animal superimposes the ringmarks. C: Detail of the engraved outcrop II at Carschenna, Switzerland. Length of animal 18cm. Notice that the animal superimposes the ringmarks. D: Detail of the engraved vertical cliff at Ballochmyle, Scotland. Length of left animal 22cm. Notice that the right-hand animal superimposes some ringmarks. E: Detail of the engraved rock at Champás, Galicia, Spain. Modified after Alén & Peña Santos 1980: Fig. 73. Height of animal 53cm.

Map of the Sahara with sites featuring cupule-animal combinations marked with solid squares. The numbers refer to the sites mentioned in the text indicated as Site 39.XX. A site-square on the main map covers a surface of approximately 3900 km2. Therefore, each square may indicate several rock-art sites.

Part of the engraved shelter at Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after photograph 98/559 by Ulrich Hallier.

Part of the engraved shelter at Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after photograph 98/564 by Ulrich Hallier.

A: Detail of the pecked cupules and rhinoceros near Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after Hallier & Hallier 2000: Abb. 4 and photograph 98/535 by Ulrich Hallier. B: Incised engraving of a rhinoceros at Aïn Naga, Algeria. Modified after Huard & Leclant 1980: Fig. 114.13 where no scale was indicated. C: Front part of the engraving of a complete rhinoceros from Wadi Adroh, Messak Settafet, Libya. Modified after Allard-Huard 1993: Photo 37. Scale estimated from Allard-Huard 1993: 216.

Cupules (?) and elephant engravings near Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after Hallier & Hallier 2000: Abb. 3 and photographs 98/534; 98/538 and 00/739 by Ulrich Hallier.

A: Part of a large incised bovine with collar appendage (superimposed by pecked animal figures) and an isolated, pecked cupule. The stippled areas indicate polished surfaces. Wadi Djerat, Tassili, Algeria. Modified after Allard-Huard 2000: Photo 121 and Lhote - undated: 92. Length of the bovine stated to be 240cm and 160cm respectively. Not shown in the drawing is an incised man facing the bovine and holding a curved stick/boomerang (?). B: Incised bovine with (pecked?) cupules near Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after Hallier & Hallier 2000: Abb. 5 and photograph 98/536 by Ulrich Hallier.

A: Part of the set of engraved bovines from the Messak Plateau, Libya. Modified after Coulson & Campbell 2001: Fig. 219. No scale indicated. B: Detail of the engravings on a loose slab from Wadi Aramas, Messak Settafet, Libya. Modified after Lutz & Lutz 1999: Bild 2. Scale estimate from the caption of Bild 2. C: Head of incised bovine superimposed (possibly partially) upon geometric designs from Tin Territ, Tassili, Algeria. Modified after Allard-Huard 2000: Photo 123. No scale given. D: Part of the engraving of a bovine from Wadi Hassan, Aramat, Libya. Modified after Soleilhavoup 2000: Fig. 17. Length of head 56cm. E: Engraved double-animal associated with cupules from Wadi Djerat, Tassili, Algeria. Modified after Allard-Huard 2000: Photo to Fig. 148.6. No scale given.

A: Engraving of cupules and two ostriches (only one shown) from Disselfontein, South Africa. Modified after Fock & Fock 1989: Tafel 119.5. Compare with Figure 54.B. B: Engraving of an ostrich with a cluster of cupules at Kaf el Metchia, Libya. Modified after Huard & Leclant 1980a: Fig. 85.2.  C:  Detail of the engraved panel at Qued Cheria (Chrea), Algeria. Modified after Frobenius & Obermaier 1965: Fig. 116.  D: Engraving of a hippopotamus with a diagonal row of eight cupules from Gorgod, Sudan. Modified after Allard-Huard 1993: Fig. 25.1.  E: Engraving of a giraffe from Gorgod, Sudan, with a spiral and a row of cupules. Modified after Allard-Huard 1993: Fig. 41.3. F: Engraving of cupules and a bovine from Putsonderwater, South Africa. Modified after Fock & Fock 1989: Tafel 142.3.   G: Engraving of a bovine from Gira-Gira (site 19 in Figure 39) "standing" in a group of crudely carved cupules. Modified after Allard-Huard 2000: Photo 71 and Fig. 55.3.

A: Engraving of a macropod superimposed upon ancient cupules at Jinmium, Northern Territory, Australia. Modified after Taçon, Fullagar, Ouzman & Mulvaney 1997: Fig. 5. No scale indicated.  B: Engraving of a lion and a row of cupules from Tamokrine, Aïr, Niger. Modified after Lhote 1987: Fig. 17.695/7.  C: Engraving of a bovine and random (?) cupules from Téguidda-n-Tagaït, Aïr, Niger.  Modified after Lhote 1987: Fig. 24.91.  D: Engraving of a bull (resembling an elephant, though) from Kamanja Mogila, Ukraine. Modified after Ksica & Ksicová 1994: Fig. A17f.

Front part of the engraved lions (or, according to Coulson & Campbell 2001, a lion [right] superimposing a hippopotamus?) from the Akakus area, Libya. Coulson & Campbell also argue that the "lion" (the right-hand animal) may have had an extra eye added at a later date. Modified after Coulson & Campbell 2001: Fig. 221.

A: One of the cupule-infill giraffe engravings out of a row of thirteen giraffes on a vertical panel at Wadi Irahar Mellen, Messak Settafet, Libya. Modified after two photographs kindly made available by Ulrich Hallier. No scale available.
B: Engraving of a giraffe with cupule infill from Téguidda-n-Tagaït, Aïr, Niger. Modified after Lhote 1987: Fig. 24.77. Height 170cm. C: Engraving of a giraffe with cupule infill from the Djado Plateau. Modified after Hallier & Hallier 1992: Tafel 181. C and after a photograph kindly made available by Ulrich Hallier.

Engraving of a giraffe with heavy cupule infill from Wadi Irahar Mellen, Messak Settafet, Libya. Photograph made by Ulrich Hallier and reproduced here with his kind permission.

Examples of animal engravings distinctly associated with cupules from several boulders at Toro Muerto, Peru. A: Feline, length: 26cm; B: Animal, length: 50cm; E: Bird, width 18cm, cupule 2,3cm; F: Falcon, height 70 cm, cupules about 4cm. H and I may represent animals producing sound or spitting animals (Guffroy 1999: 120). Animal J (height about 19cm) is rather unique for being outlined with small cupules (2cm). A similar example has been reported from Huancor, 450 km NW of Toro Muerto (Guffroy 1999: Fig. 54d).

A: One of the three bull engravings at Aspeberget, Bohuslän, Sweden. B: Engraving of a feline from Yagour XI-210. It is not certain if the spots are in fact represented by cupules. Modified after Rodrigue 1999: 335.  C: Engraving of a llama captured/led (?) by a human at La Silla, Chile. It is not certain if the spot between the legs is in fact represented by a cupule. Modified after Ballereau 1981: Fig. 30.a.  D: Engraving of one elephant out of a large frieze of animals from Oukaimeden VI, Morocco. It is not certain if the spot is in fact represented by a cupule. Modified after Rodrigue 1999: 180.  E: Engraving of a mounted deer from Naquane, Valcamonica, Italy. Modified after Wanke 2000: 76.

A: Engraving of a feline from Peñas Coloradas 3, Argentina Modified after Aschero 1999: 112.  B: Engraving of spotted llama (featuring no cupules but pecked areas, though) from Tarapacá 47, Chile.  C: Engraving of a feline (?) from Corozal Viejo, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. Modified after Lettow 1999: 33.  D: Engraving of a spotted feline on a boulder at Chiuchiu, Rio Loa, Chile.  E: Engraving of a turtle with dots (doubtful as cupules) from Caborca, Sonora Desert, Mexico. Modified after Ballereau 1988: Fig: VI.C. Length of shield 20cm.

A: Detail of outcrop at Tongariki, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) with small cupules superimposedupon two birdmen engraved in bas-relief next to a taheta (rock basin) with its edges bordered with small cupules.   B: Some of the engravings at the outcrop at Devil's Rock, Sydney, Australia. Modified after Stanbury & Clegg 1990: 98, 101, 131. Note the emu hovering over a group of circles, said to represent eggs (compare with Figure 46.A), and the circle inside the other bird (bush turkey), which is also said to represent an egg (Ibid. 96) and with a much smaller row of cupules near it. The turkey and the emu are connected in an Aboriginal story (Ibid. 131), so that it is remarkable that the two engraved birds are not graphically connected by, for instance, a row of cupules. The lines across the neck and the base of the tail of the kangaroo possibly represent cuts of meat for sharing (see Vinnicombe 2002: 21).

Detail of the engravings from the Cueva de la Damiana, Rio Loa, Chile. Modified after Berenguer 1999: 13. No scale or further information available.

A: Large cupule superimposed upon llama engraving from Punta del Pueblo, Argentina. Modified after Aschero 1999: 119. No scale available.  B: Possible cupules within llama engraving from Peñas Coloradas 3, Argentina. Modified after Aschero 1999: 110. No scale available.

A:  Engravings of two reptiles at Wadi In Habeter IIIc. Messak. Modified after a drawing by Cuno, in Frobenius 1978, Tafel XVII, 1393.   B: Engraving of a crocodile with a cupule between the hind legs from Wadi Imrawen, Messak Settafet, Libya. Modified after Allard-Huard 2000: Fig. 185. No scale indicated.

Detail of the "cloud" of peck marks at the upper (northern) end of stone 4.6 at Twyfelfontein, Namibia.

A: Paintings of two black horses and black dots from Pech-Merle, France. Note that the head of the right-hand horse is painted on a slightly projecting rock part of the vertical wall, shaped by natural forces into an animal's head (shaded areas are deeper). Paintings of six negative hand stencils and two earlier underlying red animals have not been included. Modified after Breuil & Berger-Kirchner - undated: 38. Width of the frieze: 3.40 m. B: Painted eland with finger dots superimposed from Barkly East District, South Africa. Modified after Dowson 1989: Fig. 13. 

Map of the Twyfelfontein area indicating the limits of the groups of the rock art sites mentioned in table 2. For details on Site 4 see Figure 61.

Map of the area of Site 4 at Twyfelfontein indicating the limits of the groups of the rock art sites mentioned in table 2.

The absolute numbers (above) and relative numbers (below) of the cupule rocks (black) at Twyfelfontein. The number of cupule rocks is included in the totals: e.g. group 1 has 20 decorated rocks, 4 of which have cupules. See figures 60 and 61 for the locations of these rock-art groups. The  + indicates the position of the spring. The smaller pie-chart shows the relative number of cupule rocks (black) compared to the total (225) of non-cupule rocks (green). The larger pie-chart shows the relative number of cupule rocks per rock-art group compared to the total of cupule rocks.

A: The absolute numbers of cupules at rock art groups 1, 2, and 4. See figures 60 and 61 for the locations of these rock-art groups. The  + indicates the position of the spring. the pie-chart shows the relative numbers of cupules for these site-groups. B: Three circle-diagrams showing the enormous difference between the absolute numbers of cupules of rock-art groups 1, 2 and 4. Rock-art group 4 also shows the relative numbers of the cupules at this group compared to the total of cupules at this group.

A: Graph showing the preference for vertical slopes of panels with cupules at Twyfelfontein in absolute numbers. The pie chart illustrates the percentages. B: Graph showing the directions of the compass in which the panels with cupules at Twyfelfontein face. The pie chart illustrates the percentages.

Twyfelfontein Site R. The two giraffe (one with an extension from its snout) on the east face of the West block, site R5.

Twyfelfontein Site R. Geometric engravings on the west face of the West block, site R5.

Twyfelfontein Site P. The north facing panel of rock P3. Notice the long-necked giraffe (left) and the abdomen-joined canines (right).

Twyfelfontein Site O. Part of the engravings on the upper part of the needle-shaped rock 3.1.

Twyfelfontein Site O. The engravings on the lower part of the needle-shaped rock 3.1.

Twyfelfontein Site O. The delicately engraved oryx on the vertical north side of site 3.2.

Twyfelfontein Site O. The ostrich on stone O6. Notice the three short grooves hovering over the bird. One set of similar grooves also occurs on the NW vertical surface of stone O2.

Twyfelfontein Site N. Some of the paintings at the Hasenblock.

Twyfelfontein Site N. The kudu-bull on stone N7; vista and detail. Photographs by Sven Ouzman, March 2002.

Twyfelfontein Site N. Part of the engravings on stone N4, showing a fine kudu-bull.

Twyfelfontein Site N. Part of the engravings on stone N4, showing a fine rhino engraving.

Twyfelfontein Site A. The geometric engravings on stone 4.1.5 (A3b). Photograph by Sven Ouzman, March 2002.

Twyfelfontein Site B. Detail of the cupules on rock 4.7 (B14).

Twyfelfontein Site 4.8.1 (B18d). A. Detail of the right-hand panel showing a possible hyena and the rhino followed by a possible young and four (possible) cupules that are indicated with yellow pointers. B. Detail of the left-hand panel showing an ostrich linked to an equid. To the right of that configuration is a possible cupule (indicated by a yellow pointer) and yet another animal.

Twyfelfontein Site C. The "Fabeltier" on stone 4.12 (C1).

Twyfelfontein Site C. The polished disk near the "Fabeltier" on stone 4.12 (C1).

Twyfelfontein Site C. Typical paintings at the rock shelter at the south end of the northern habitation plain. Notice the paintings on the almost downward facing surface immediately below the left hand "Schneider".

Twyfelfontein Site C. A large giraffe on the vertical south face of stone C5.

Twyfelfontein Site C. An isolated engraving of an ostrich. It is found on the vertical south face of stone C8.

Twyfelfontein Site D. View of site D from site G. Notice the enormous upstanding blocks (the Riesenblock) with the three large plates that are engraved just below (west of) it.

Twyfelfontein Site D. Human footprints and a giraffe's head possibly associated with wavy grooves on stone D4.

Twyfelfontein Site D. Detail of the engravings on the Riesenblock, D16, showing felines, oryx and spoor.

Twyfelfontein Site D. Beautifully engraved ostrich on stone D20. Notice the pecked circle near the top of the photograph. It continues on Figure 88.

Twyfelfontein Site D. Several beautifully engraved giraffe on stone D20.

Twyfelfontein Site F. The "Springbockplatte", F12.

Twyfelfontein Site F. The "Elephant" Stone, F22.

Twyfelfontein Site F. The "Big Rhino Stone", F28.

Twyfelfontein Site F. The geometric engravings on stone F29.

Twyfelfontein Site H. The "Rhino Spoor Stone", H23.

Twyfelfontein Site I. The painted "Headless Kudu" at the "Grosser Malereiblock", I1. Photograph by Sven Ouzman, March 2002.

Twyfelfontein Site I. The position of stone 4.21.1 featuring the cupules and spoor. Photograph by Sven Ouzman, March 2002. Inset: Drawing of the cupules and the spoor. Modified after Scherz 1975: Tafel 142.1. No north arrow available.

Twyfelfontein Site P. Detail of the north part of stone 2.1 showing spoor of several species (birds, antelope, humans).

Twyfelfontein Site E. The “Löwenplatte”, showing the famous lion with the long tail ending in a feline’s claw. The mouth of the lion is superimposed upon an antelope (deliberately?).

Rock Art of Twyfelfontein in Namibia, Africa

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Rock Art of Twyfelfontein in Namibia, Africa

Rock Art of Twyfelfontein, Namibia, Africa
| Namibia Preface | Namibia Introduction | Twyfelfontein Cupules | Cupules & Animals | Picture Captions |
| Appendix 1 | Appendix 2 | Bibliography | Acknowledgements |
| Bradshaw Foundation Homepage | Africa Rock Art Index |


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