Tusked ‘Dassie’ & Rain Animal Shelter

Associated Archaeology

The site has a very soft, ashy floor – it seems animal dung combusted recently. There are numerous stone tools lying on the surface, also some bone and grit-tempered pottery. The site is close to the river with good pools of water and ideally suited as a habitation site.

Meaning of the rock paintings

There are between 180 – 220 individual rock paintings here. The imagery is mostly well done. There is an unusual dassie-like animal painted in red and white with a clear eye and two tusks or horns on its snout. Another unusual image is of a red, white and black part-animal part human therianthrope in a bipedal stance with a very curious head and accoutrements. Other interesting imagery includes a rare image cluster of at least 4 warthogs grubbing for food.

The rock paintings at this site show an interesting mix of imagery that has a communal and well-understood character and the idiosyncratic. The layering of painting episodes as well as the depth of archaeological deposit mark this place as a large communal home, perhaps answering to what archaeologists call ‘aggregation sites’ where smaller groups came together at certain times for social, economic, religious and political purposes.

The tusked, dassie-like animal and bipedal therianthrope are exceptionally interesting though their precise meaning remains recondite.