San Rock Art: Everything You Need To Know

Rock Art is an ancient form of art that has been used for centuries by different cultures. San rock art, also known as petroglyphs, are a type of rock carving found in the deserts of southern Africa. These carvings can be dated back to over 10 000 years ago and have been attributed to the Khoi-San people who lived in this region at that time.

The carvings typically depict animals such as giraffes, ostriches or antelopes but there are also many abstract designs which often represent fertility symbols. They were created by chipping away at the surface of the stone with tools like hammerstones or grinding stones until they reached a desired depth or until the stone cracked.

Today, San rock art is considered a national treasure in most African countries it can be found in and many conservation efforts have been taken to ensure that these works of art are still preserved for future generations. Visit our post for more information about Rock Art.

San Rock Art: What Is It?

San Rock Art is an artwork that has been carved on the sandstone rock formations in the U.S. state of Utah by Native Americans, or people who had some contact with them before they vanished around 1300 A.D., likely due to violence from European settlers and diseases brought over by Europeans, such as smallpox and measles. Although it is not known for certain why this particular type of art was created, many believe it may have had something to do with ancient rituals where the living would pray to departed ancestors trapped in these mountainside rocks so they could protect themselves during times of danger.”

The term rock art comes from the Latin word “Arcanum” which means “secret-keeping”. This is due to the fact that many of these paintings are not easily found by the general population. The term is also used when describing prehistoric paintings, photographs or other visual representations of modes of life or natural phenomena.

San Rock Art is artwork found in the Kalahari Desert. Hills, depressions, and rocks are used to display this art. The oldest example of San rock art is dated to be over 12,000 years old.

The San people of southern Africa, traditional hunter-gatherers who live in the Kalahari Desert and surrounding areas. They are renowned for their rock art paintings on natural stone outcrops, which they may decorate with engravings and etchings. The drawings represent animals such as eland or giraffe; human figures; hunting scenes; shamans’ journeys to other worlds; and geometric designs. Such paintings were once common throughout much of south-central Africa but have now disappeared from many regions due to the destruction of sites, changing social conditions (including displacement), urbanization, war, and climate change.

san rock art

The San regard these paintings as sacred objects imbued with power that can be used for healing or foretelling the future. They are among the oldest known paintings in Africa, estimated to date back around 30,000 years.

The San people live in southern Africa but rock art has been found all over the continent. The San may have painted on rocks because they couldn’t afford paper or canvas and they use them for healing and foretelling the future.

San Rock Art: History Of Research

San Rock Art is an extensive and fascinating archive of the past. Historical research of these petroglyphs is quite old and has been pursued by scholars with diverse backgrounds. The San people, with their direct knowledge of the rock art and landscapes where they reside, have yet to be fully integrated into archaeological investigations. There are many different disciplines that influence the interpretation of this material.

Archaeologists, for example, delve into the form and function of the sites; geographers explore patterns in spatial distribution; art historians examine aesthetic qualities; anthropologists study archeological contexts such as classification culture and social organization; logisticians study relationships between languages and cultures; folklorists investigate oral traditions related to rock-art sacred sites; zoologists speculate on the identity of animal images; and geologists approach the sites as part of a natural heritage. This essay discusses briefly several historical developments regarding research on rock art.

The San rock art of South Africa is the richest and most diverse in the world, displaying over 20 times as many different images as all other African rock art put together. Despite this richness however, there has been little work done to date on comparing its images with those found throughout Europe. The aim of this article is to address this gap in knowledge.

Investigation into the historical practices of the San people reveals that they are now extinct. The group may have flourished until around 2,000 years ago at which point their numbers began to decline sharply due to both internal strife and outside attacks. It is also thought that they were killed off by HIV/AIDS-related illnesses introduced by European settlers during the 18th century(Boone).

san rock art

Elaborating on the predominant components of San rock art, it is possible to identify that they are narratives that are predominantly about the environment and the depiction of animals. The narratives are composed of birds, which are exclusively found in this region, as well as depictions of other migratory birds. It is also possible to see human figures with elaborate headdresses or hairstyles. These hairstyles are not indigenous to these people so this may be a form of San identity.

The difference between images and words has been an ongoing debate for many years now. Some current theorists have argued that there might have been some sort of system of writing at one point but the main components were the figures and shapes that came about through rock art itself.

San Rock Art: Geography And Distribution

San rock art is a term that refers to the prehistoric paintings and drawings found in the Andean highlands, which are believed to date from 14,000 to 1,000 BC. San rock art has been found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The distribution of San rock art has been mainly identified in the mountains, which are located in both small and large communities. Many of the drawings depict animals such as lizards, fish, jaguars and snakes.

The purpose of San rock art is not known for certain; it may have served as a type of tracking system used to ensure successful hunts or identify the location of water sources, or it may have served as a type of map that represented important landmarks in the surrounding landscape. San rock art is believed to represent the beliefs and practices of these early hunters; this information has been translated by archaeologists who study what they believe to be religious motifs.

San rock art has most frequently been found on the walls of caves and overhangs, but has also been found on such media as boulders and cliff faces. San rock art is commonly attributed to the San people who inhabited the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa during this period; however, there is debate about whether or not San rock art should be associated with these early hunters who lived in the Andean highlands.

san rock art

San rock art was first brought to the world’s attention at the end of the 19th century, when noted anthropologist Sir James George Frazer published an article titled “The Early History Of The Robust Race From The Cape Province”, which discussed cave paintings located in what is now known as South Africa. At the beginning of the 20th century, these paintings were being looked at by a number of different groups interested in their age and origins.

In 1913, a German researcher named Bernhard Ankermann was able to date the paintings to 30,000 BC; he concluded that both San rock art and European cave paintings had been influenced by one another, because they shared similar patterns and symbols. This theory was popularized by the French researcher Abbe Henri Breuil, who published a book on prehistoric art in 1921; he stated that San rock art and European cave paintings had been influenced by one another across both continents.

The distribution of rock art in South Africa is extensive. It covers the country, stretching from the coast in Cape Town, all the way to Kimberley in the Northern Cape. It ranges from KwaZulu-Natal, Free State to Mpumalanga. Some distributions are limited to small areas.

San rock art can be found in various places in South Africa, as well as Namibia and Botswana. There is a considerable amount of variety in the type of images portrayed across these countries. The distribution of San Rock Art, as it is called, stretches over a wide area and often takes the form of a decorated surface or ‘skyline’.

San Rock Art: How Many Types Are There?

Have you ever seen San Rock Art? There are many types of rock art in the world, but what makes San Rock Art so special is that it’s the only type of rock art that has been created by people who don’t know how to read or write. The paintings were done with natural pigments and tools like charcoal, ochre, manganese dioxide and iron oxide.

These paintings have survived for centuries thanks to their creators’ belief in magic. They believed these paintings would protect them from harm and bring good fortune. But now they’re disappearing at an alarming rate because of mining operations in South Africa – which means we could lose this incredible piece of history forever if something isn’t done to protect them.


san rock art

Pictographs are a type of rock art usually found in the Western United States. They were created from ancient to recent times by Native Americans as pictorial representations of histories, legends, myths, religious belief-systems and cultural values.

They are drawings that are either made by scratching the picture onto the rock wall or ground and it is often done with such a pointed object like a sharpened animal bone. The drawings are often done with a paint on top of the rock which is very fragile and not as permanent as rock art.

Pictographs have been around for at least 12,000 years. The word “pictograph” means picture writing and they were used widely by prehistoric people in many parts of the world including the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Pictographs are often found in caves or rock shelters, but can also be found on rocks in the open air. They were often used to mark territory and they were very important for religious reasons. For example many cultures made pictures of their gods, suns and moons (astronomical bodies) which would provide them with guidance about the seasons and life.

Pictographs are often used in rock art along with petroglyphs (pictures drawn on the rocks). They are often part of an ancient tradition that is sacred to many people today. Rock paintings can be seen all over the world so it shows the importance of these ancient images in different cultures.

Pictographs are symbolic drawings that represent words, ideas, people’s names, or objects. They are drawn in a stylized form. The most common form of pictograph is the hieroglyph. It is drawn in the shape of a human or animal figure with clearly drawn shapes or lines to represent head, torso legs and arms.


Petroglyphs are rock carvings (made by pecking, scraping, or engraving materials such as stone, metal, or wood), which are often very old. The word ‘petroglyph’ also refers to the art achieved through this method.

Moreover, petroglyphs are images that have been created by pecking, carving, painting or scraping away the surface of a rock. The term was originally used in North America, but can be applied globally. Petroglyphs for this purpose include animals including reptiles and birds; humans and human-like figures; geometric designs such as circles and crescents; and symbols such as crosses and tree shapes.

Petroglyphs are generally considered to be an art form and although some can be used as maps due to natural markings, the majority of petroglyphs found around the world seem to depict ceremonial importance or illustrate aspects of daily life.

The earliest petroglyphs share common features of multiple parallel lines and dots. Petroglyphs of later periods can develop more complex patterns including cross-hatching, curvilinear designs and anthropomorphic patterns such as human figures, birds and land animals. Many petroglyphs are dated to prehistoric times, particularly in Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia. The oldest known petroglyphs are dated to approximately the Mesolithic period in Russia, Sweden and Spain.

There are various kinds of petroglyphs found all over the world. The main types are: Clastic, Esoteric/Mystical, Zoomorphic, Anthropomorphic.

san rock art


Engravings are carved into rock. They are usually called petroglyphs or pecked, but some paintings may also be called engravings. Engravings are made by the removal of rock. If you want to make an engraving, you have to remove or break away some stone in order to leave it behind as a pattern. This is very different from paintings because paintings are put on top of the surface instead of taking something away.

It is a form of rock art in which shapes and symbols are carved into stone. Engravings are relatively large images, as they are usually made by striking the rock with a durable stone. They differ from petroglyphs in that they are not necessarily associated with religious practices.

Do not confuse with petroglyphs: petroglyphs are drawings made in the rock and decorated with pigments.

There is no specific technique that focuses on engraving; all techniques used for carving sculptures may also be applied to engravings. Engravings can be cut into a surface with a sharp object such as an ice pick, stone chisel or burin (a stone point set in a wooden handle).

Engravings are found around the world, and many are believed to have been made during prehistoric times. People who created these engravings were called “carvers,” and the art they produced is called “rock art.”

Most carvings are small, measuring no more than a few inches across. However, some engravings can measure up to several feet or more in length. Like petroglyphs, engravings usually depict images of humans and other animals such as bison and deer. Some of the engravings also depict shapes and symbols that do not resemble any known object.

Engravings are found both in dry areas and wet areas, such as near lakes and rivers. People probably made them for various reasons throughout history. The most common reason people make rock art is to communicate with those who will see it long after they are gone.

Most of the engraved rocks are exposed to the elements and damaged by them, making it challenging for scientists to date engravings. The oldest known engraved rock is 49,000 years old! In order to estimate when an engraving was made scientists usually look at the quality of engravings and what is depicted in them. They use a variety of methods including radiocarbon dating, uranium-series dating and magnetic orientation.


san rock art

The purpose of this article is to discuss what Petroforms are. Petroforms are defined as rock art that has been left by Native Americans in North America. These sculptures use natural rock type, which is found in the area where they are made. The word Petroform comes from the French language, which is short for “petroleum form”. This means that rocks are shaped by petroleum.

Petroforms are made mostly in the United States and Canada. There are some examples of this rock art that can be found in Europe. The oldest petroform sites have been dated back to around 3000 BC.

Petroforms can be found in flat and open areas and they tend to come in the form of a circle or spiral. There are many different types of rock art located at petroform sites. The most common type of rock art is called cupules, which were made by using the ground surface to drill into boulders. These couples were made by using a smoothed pebble tool.

Petroforms can also be found in the rivers and on the beaches of North America. There are more than ten thousand petroform sites that have been recorded, but there may be more that we don’t know about yet.


Geoglyphs is a term used to refer to large figures made in the earth, typically out in the open desert. Geoglyphs are sometimes mistakenly called “Pictograms.” Pictograms are designs which are drawn on ceramics or other materials for purposes of storytelling.

Geoglyphs are large designs that were created by arranging rocks on a surface, typically a desert pavement. The term is used to describe a site of the past or present which contains ground markings from human activity.

The Geoglyphs around San rock art were made by using stones to create these 3D images. These large images were made because they would capture the attention of any people living in the area when looking out into their surroundings. People could easily spot these images from miles away.

Geoglyphs were made by altering the surface of a certain area in order to create a design or image. People used stones to make these designs and images because they could be planted into the ground which would secure them, making it much harder for anyone to knock them out of place when creating these images or designs.

The word geometry was originally used in classical antiquity to mean “the measuring of earth” and hence “mapmaking”. In the sense “drawing of earth”, it was first applied to cartography. In this sense, “earth measurement” precedes surveying and map-making and geodesy in general, but in current use the word usually refers to global mapping and surveying.

Roughly four thousand years ago in Northern California, petroglyphs were etched into the surface of large boulders in order to create these geoglyphs.

The glyphs were created by the natives who used rocks to create designs that would be visible from a distance. The larger design was visible for aerial surveys or satellite imaging, which is how they are found today. Some may have been formed as a way of recording information using geometry and astronomy, which allowed the natives to map their world.


In conclusion, san rock art is a very important aspect of our society and has been for centuries. It’s not just an ancient thing from the past that isn’t used anymore; it’s still being created today by artists who take pride in their work. The San people have always been proud to share this part of themselves with outsiders. Rock paintings are a great way for them to do so while also preserving history and culture within their community at the same time.

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