The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News
Engravings discovered in Sinai Desert
Wednesday 06 May 2020

An article by Alex Fox on smithsonianmag.com - See Ancient Cave Art Found in Egypt’s Sinai Desert - reports on the discovery in a cave in the northern Sinai Desert of Egypt of engravings depicting animals such as camels, leopards, cows and mules which may date back to 3,000 B.C.

Ancient Cave Art Egypt Sinai Desert discovery engravings animals
A view of the cave, located in Wadi al-Zolma in the northern Sinai Desert. Image: Hesham Hussein / Sinai Antiquities

A team of archaeologists has discovered a cave adorned with engravings of animals in the northern Sinai Desert, as recently announced by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity, differing to the the cave art found in the southern Sinai.

Article continues below
Article continues

“(This) cave is the first of its kind to be discovered in the area,” Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ministry of Antiquities’ ancient Egyptian antiquities sector, tells Ahram Online’s Nevine El-Aref.

Ancient Cave Art Egypt Sinai Desert discovery engravings animals
Archaeologists believe this engraving of an ibex may be up to 5,000 years old. Image: Hesham Hussein / Sinai Antiquities

Artists active during the predynastic period likely created the engravings, says Hesham Hussein, lead archaeologist on the find and Sinai’s director of antiquities, in an email. He dates some of the inscriptions back to the Naqada III period, which lasted from approximately 3200 to 3000 B.C., but stipulates that the site has yet to be fully studied.

Ancient Cave Art Egypt Sinai Desert discovery engravings animals
A view of Wadi al-Zolma from inside the cave. Image: Hesham Hussein / Sinai Antiquities

The cave’s potentially 5,000-year-old carvings are distinct from those found in the valleys of the southern Sinai, Ashmawi tells Al-Masry Al-Youm of the Egypt Independent. He adds that the carvings bear a resemblance to bas-relief designs, which feature images that only slightly protrude from the surface.

Ancient Cave Art Egypt Sinai Desert discovery engravings animals
A palimpsest of various animal engravings. Image: Hesham Hussein / Sinai Antiquities

Found mostly along the walls of the inner cave, the engravings depict animals including ibexes, ostriches, camels, leopards, cows and mules, according to Hussein. Some 600 feet southwest of the cave, the team unearthed the ruins of two circular stone buildings that appear to be the only remaining traces of a small settlement, but the researchers do not yet know if the people responsible for building these structures also created the cave art.

The limestone cave is located in a mountainous area of Wadi al-Zulma, a valley roughly 40 miles east of the Suez Canal. Its interior is around 50 feet deep, with a ceiling measuring roughly 65 feet high. The floor is filled with “large quantities” of animal feces and ash from burnt-out fires, Yehia Hassanien, director general of Arish antiquities, tells Egypt Today’s Angy Essam. These remnants suggest the cave saw relatively continuous use, perhaps by locals seeking shelter for themselves and their livestock, adds Hassanien.

The Sinai Desert, which stretches from the Suez Canal to the Israeli border, was important to the ancient Egyptians, who exploited the area’s mineral wealth, John Darnell, an Egyptologist at Yale University, told Newsweek’s Rosie McCall in January, when the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of another art-covered cave in the southern Sinai. This cave featured paintings that archaeologists estimate date as far back as 10,000 B.C.

“(T)he ancient Egyptians were inveterate graffiti artists,” said Darnell at the time. “They could not help but inscribe the landscape, especially on roads and at sites of activity in the deserts."

The painted imagery found at the southern Sinai cave is rarer than carved images of the type found at the newly discovered cave to the north, according to Darnell.

Comment
Rock Art
Ancient Pilbara rock shelters destroyed
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 27 May 2020
Engravings discovered in Sinai Desert
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 06 May 2020
Hunter-gatherers of southern Africa
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 05 May 2020
Robot draws Chauvet art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 22 April 2020
Carvings discovered in Norway
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 15 April 2020
Uncertain spring
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 10 April 2020
Virtual rock art tours
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 03 April 2020
The Art World Goes Dark
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 27 March 2020
Mantis carving in Iran
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 23 March 2020
Carvings discovered in northern Spain
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 18 February 2020
Rock art expeditions to Baja California
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 15 January 2020
Australian rock art destroyed by fire
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 January 2020
New Publication by Joana Valdez-Tullett
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 11 December 2019
Hunting magic in rock art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 09 December 2019
Rock art theories
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 06 December 2019
New Nazca geoglyphs discovered
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 19 November 2019
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
ROCK ART NETWORK
Rock Art Network Bradshaw Foundation Getty Conservation Institute
The Final Passage
by Rock Art Network
4 May 2020
ROCK ART
Ancient Pilbara rock shelters destroyed
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 27 May 2020
Engravings discovered in Sinai Desert
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 06 May 2020
Hunter-gatherers of southern Africa
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 05 May 2020
Robot draws Chauvet art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 22 April 2020
Carvings discovered in Norway
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 15 April 2020
Uncertain spring
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 10 April 2020
Virtual rock art tours
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 03 April 2020
The Art World Goes Dark
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 27 March 2020
Mantis carving in Iran
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 23 March 2020
Carvings discovered in northern Spain
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 18 February 2020
Rock art expeditions to Baja California
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 15 January 2020
Australian rock art destroyed by fire
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 January 2020
New Publication by Joana Valdez-Tullett
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 11 December 2019
Hunting magic in rock art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 09 December 2019
Rock art theories
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 06 December 2019
New Nazca geoglyphs discovered
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 19 November 2019
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store