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Uncertain spring
Friday 10 April 2020

Reflecting on the art in the landscape of Namibia.

Reflecting art landscape Namibia
The beautiful yet harsh landscape of Twyfelfontein in Namibia

The rock art at Twyfelfontein was probably produced during the dry season, and around 5,000 years ago when the climate was even drier than at present, because the shortage of water and food forced people to congregate near the spring. This then became a time of intense ritual activity.

Reflecting art landscape Namibia
Rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

Rituals helped to strengthen the values and cohesion of the group: they were performed during initiation into adulthood, to heal the sick, to ensure successful hunting, and to make rain.

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Article continues
Reflecting art landscape Namibia
Rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

The ritual traditions represented in the rock art of Twyfelfontein saw their greatest flowering during the last 5,000 years; a period of increasing aridity during which hunter-gatherer communities developed and perfected a wide range of economic survival strategies.

Reflecting art landscape Namibia
Rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

The rock art was the preserve of the medicine people, or shamans, and had two functions: as a means to enter the supernatural world - the spirit world - and to record the shaman's experiences in that world.

click here to see more on the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

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