PICTOGRAPH

NAMIBIA 2014

Simple crop (panoramic)

THE NORTHERN VALLEY

The paintings in this Valley were found on the Lower Brandberg in a cluster around a large spring, walking up the Valley as if one was intending to climb up the sides of the mountain in order to reach the Upper Brandberg. The sites were clustered within half an hour’s walking distance from a large spring. The spring was in the middle of a steep, boulder filled valley and in the shadow of an old wild fig tree (Ficus sycomorus) which given its substantial size was old. The geology of this valley, compared to the petrology of the granite closer to the Ugab River, is homogenous alkali-feldspar with very little evidence of either veining or pegmatitic material present.

There were nine sites in this Valley either side of a dry river bed and their physical location sharply resembled that found in Amis, Numas, and Tsisab Valleys. Here as elsewhere the sites were in close proximity of an open area and within easy access to water because they were either side of the dry river bed, which ran through the length of the Valley. Here all pictographs were found within 150 metres of a water hole that with the fig tree provided an oasis with a small pool of running water. Here like elsewhere the pictographs were found on rock features classifiable as: grottos, freestanding boulders with overhangs, and rock slabs with a roof slab and the occasional rock lean-to. Here these images, in comparison to those at Numas Valley, were and monochrome and weathered. While in Numas Valley were polychrome and suffered from exfoliation. The paintings at the Numas Valley were red, black and white these were found on animals such as elands and antelopes. However, the lack of polychrome paintings shouldn’t imply to reader that interesting images didn’t exist in this Blank Gorge since paintings of plants were readily identifiable as the leaves of the mopane tree and Aloe dictoma (quiver tree).

An exploratory expedition further up the Valley revealed not only another spring with running water and a fig tree but the possibility of some additional sites as another pictograph was found. The terrain contained significantly more boulders and was steeper than was initially anticipated. Unfortunately, due to time constraints this was not documented properly. Obviously further exploration of this valley must occur.

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