Emeritus Professor John Parkington, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town    

Monday 22–Tuesday 23 January 11.15 am COURSE FEES R220; Staff and students R110  

Many Cederberg rock paintings appear to depict social and life history events and to materialise these in lasting form to create a socially meaningful landscape. As many archaeologists have noted, hunter gatherer landscapes are more than topographic or ecological spaces; they are worlds created by repetitive living in and usages of ‘persistent places’. In this way identity and belonging are co-created along with place and landscape as mutually and inextricably linked concepts. These entanglements include other living forms such as elephant communities, which are viewed as ‘other-than-human-persons’. In this course we exemplify this process by examining the rock paintings of the middle Brandewyn River in the Agter Pakhuis region of the Northern Cederberg.

Lecture titles

  1. Paintings of human figures
  2. Paintings of animal forms

Recommended reading

Basso, K.H. 1996. Wisdom sits in Places: Landscape and Language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Guenther, M. 2015. Therefore their parts resemble humans, for they feel that they are people: Ontological flux in San myth, cosmology and belief. Hunter Gatherer Research 1.3: pp. 277–315.

Hill, E. 2013. Archaeology and Animal Persons: Toward a Prehistory of Human-Animal Relations. Environment and Society: Advances in Research 4: 117–136.

Parkington, J. and Alfers, J. 2022. Entangled Lives, Relational Ontology and Rock Paintings: Elephant and Human Figures in the Rock Art of the Western Cape, South Africa. Southern African Field Archaeology 17: article 1228.