Prior to the area’s designation as a National Park, the rock-art sites were difficult, and often dangerous to enter. In ancient times, this inaccessibility must have heightened the importance of the sites, and indeed those who painted on the rocks. This ‘perilous’ art tends to be painted in various shades of red using ochre (haematite), which naturally bleeds from the surrounding exposed rock outcropping; though occasionally yellow (limonite) and grey pigments were also used. Each panel (or canvas) usually takes the form of a long linear block of images, arranged about 0.5m to 2m above the original floor, and extending some tens of metres long. Occasionally, the panel fills the whole length of the naturally formed rock-shelter or overhang. Most images appear to be strategically placed, usually within natural depressions, either cutting into the rock surface or in eroded hollows.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 37. Click here to subscribe