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Neolithic engravings discovered in Egypt
An article on phys.org - Egyptian ritual images from the Neolithic period - reports on the discovery of rock art from the 4th millennium BC during an excavation at a necropolis near Aswan in Egypt.
Rock engravings thought to be about 6,000 years old. Image: David Sabel
Egyptologists at the University of Bonn state that the paintings were engraved into the rock in the form of small dots and depict hunting scenes. They may represent a link between the Neolithic period and Ancient Egyptian culture. The discovery earned the scientists the award for one of the current ten most important archaeological discoveries in Egypt from the Minister of Antiquities in Cairo.
The intentionally overvisualized tracing with inherent interpretation allows three figures to be identified: a hunter with a bow (right), a dancing man with a bird mask (left) and, in the center, the large flightless bird the ostrich. Illustration: David Sabel.
Tracing & drawing the outlines reveal the depictions. Image: David Sabel.
Archaeological research has taken place at Qubbet el-Hawa (English: hill of wind) for over a century; over 80 burial mounds have been excavated on the hill near Aswan. The history of this necropolis for the provincial capital Elephantine extends from around 2,200 BC to the 4th century BC. It was an important trading base for Egyptians in Nubia. Professor Elmar Edel from the University of Bonn carried out extensive research between 1959 and 1984.
Now a completely new aspect at Qubbet el-Hawa has now been uncovered during an excavation begun at the necropolis in 2015. The team led by Professor Morenz with Amr El Hawary, Andreas Dorn, Tobias Gutmann, Sarah Konert and David Sabel discovered much older Neolithic rock art from the 4th millennium BC.
Style and iconography - some of the engravings on the rock wall are clearly Egyptian in terms of iconography and stylistics, while others are clearly pre-Egyptian as regards the presentation method and motif.
The archaeological site. Image: David Sabel.
The images were pecked into the rock with a hard point and are now barely perceivable due to their considerable age. Three figures are depicted: a hunter with bow, a dancing man with raised arms and, between them, an ostrich.
The excavation team and the Egyptian inspectors in November 2015: David Sabel, Aswan inspector Howeyda Mohamed, Amr El Hawary, Aswan chief inspector Shazly Ali Shazly and Ludwig Morenz (from left). Image: David Sabel.
The researchers (above) believe the petroglyphs may represent a link between the ancient Near Eastern and even southern European Neolithic period and Ancient Egyptian culture, whilst admitting that more investigation is needed; the much older rock art clearly has nothing to do with the necropolis directly and is probably linked to a prehistoric network of trails that also needs to be researched more intensively.