Doe and Fawn Shelter

Associated Archaeology

There are hornfels and crypto-crystaline silicate tools in abundance but in disturbed contexts. The entire immediate surrounding landscape to the west and south for several hundred meters appears to have been a living area, perhaps for an extended group with smaller spread-out camps.

Meaning of the rock paintings

The paintings have clearly built up over many years and even generations. The imagery such as the suckling Rhebuck fawn and the ever-socially-important eland is of an open and easily understandable nature to most Bushmen. There are very few hidden meanings in the imagery except, perhaps, for the grotesque animate black human figures.

The ‘swimming’ human figures above the eland (repeated twice over the site) are best interpreted as representing people in an altered state of consciousness (trance) who feel as though they are submerged underwater, feeling weightless and other-worldly. The many rhebuck painted at the site are perhaps a metaphor for Bushmen social organisation, who amalgamated in large groups for part of the year before splitting up into nuclear family groups, as rhebuck do. This supports our theory that the Leliekloof System saw the gathering of many clans on their migratory route from the Southern Drakensberg to the Karoo to follow game (their major food source) during their summer-winter migrations.

The single hand painted human figure is intriguing and could be the work of either Khoekhoen herders or Bantu-speakers.