THE ROCK ART OF WESTERN CENTRAL AFRICA

ROCK ART PETROGLYPHS IN CAMEROON, AFRICA

Page 4/10
 
 
The Rock Engravings of Bidzar
Photos Text by Richard Oslisly
 
DISCOVERY & SITUATION
 
The rock engravings of Bidzar were discovered by the french researcher Buisson in 1933. Other researchers were Jauze (1944), J.P. Nicholas (1951), E. Mveng (1965). In 1970 A. Marliac rediscovered the site and carried out some further studies, A. Marliac (1982). Bidzar is a small village near Guidar, situated on the Maroua-Garoua road in the north of Cameroon. The field of marble extends in the west of the road for about 2.5km long and 1km wide.The total length of these engravings have long been considered by some researchers as natural. A great quantity of marble was destroyed because of the industrial exploitation.
rock art africa
General view of Bidzar
rock art africa
General view of Bidzar
 
THE MATERIAL
 
The material on which the engravings were carved is the calcareous marble (cipolin) from which the presence of schist (rock), rich in chlorites, modified its whitish colour producing hues of green, yellow, blue or pink. This marble seems to have been chosen voluntarily because its resistance to engraving is very low, whereas the neighbouring rocks such as granite are too hard and the micaschist too soft. The engravings could only have been done with iron tools; the first layer of the marble is easily removed giving way to the whitish and most resistant part of the rock.
rock art africa
Marble block with cupules
rock art africa
Marble blocks at Bidzar
 
TECHNIQUES OF THE ENGRAVING
 
The engravers knew the usable material beside the neighbouring and less favourable rocks. In most of the cases, the engravers of Bidzar used a direct thrown percussion i.e. The hammering of a hammer placed on the engraved surface. The mark by staking is observable on the engravings; the engravers seem to have chosen the surfaces having no cracks or holes.
 
The disposition of the engravings on the paving stones seems to be linked either to the spread of the available surfaces (at times the surfaces are empty, at times full) or to the choice of the engraver. The engraver probably began the design at the greatest circular part, especially in the case of complicated figures. Then later added the internal figures and the external parts. It also worth noting the presence of huge figures occupying the whole paving stone, although nothing appears in these figures, the possibility of internal designs remained. engravings could only have been done with iron tools; the first layer of the marble is easily removed giving way to the whitish and most resistant part of the rock.
rock art africa
Concentric circles and cupules
rock art africa
Cupules and circular marks
rock art africa
Representation in form of petals
rock art africa
Association of circular marks
 
DEGRADATION AND DESTRUCTION OF ENGRAVINGS
 
Two types of degradations can lead to the wearing away of the engravings: Natural destruction caused by erosion (water flow) and the degradation of the marble (cracks) by climatic agents. Human degradation, The field of marble at Bidzar has been long visited by men and animals, which has led to an increase in the deterioration of the marble. One can also note the piling up of stones and freshly made holes during cultivation periods.
 
To resolve these problems an enclosure was constructed around the most important fields of marble. The policy of preservation needed to be put in place, as the paints and coatings that may have been used on the engraving were being erased over time due to climate and erosion.
rock art africa
Cupules and posts
rock art africa
Cupules and posts
 
DATING OF BIDZAR ROCK ENGRAVINGS
 
It is difficult to give an exact date to these engravings, but studies have shown that they could not go beyond the early Iron Age (2500-1500 BP).
 
INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGRAVINGS
 
The Bidzar engravings clearly have a meaning, but their interpretation is subjective. Moreover the local population have no concept of their meaning.
 
 
Africa Rock Art Archive
 
bradshaw foundation donate help
Mailing List

Email Sign-Up
website updates

Email

First Name

Last Name

Country

Prints
Podcast
bradshaw foundation podcast
DVD
bradshaw foundation ishop dvd
Sponsored Links
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Research Paper Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation