Studies of rock art in Dakhleh Oasis

Nauka w Polsce

“The creators of rock drawings in Dakhla were shepherds. They lived about 8 – 5,000 years ago” – said Prof. Michał Kobusiewicz from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology at the Polish Academy of Sciences, who is studying the relicts of human presence in Dakhla Oasis in Egypt. The oasis is located in the middle of the Western Desert. It is known among others due to numerous rock engravings – depicting women, giraffes and elephants. Full of life in ancient times, today the dry valleys of the river (“wadi” in Arabic) are a witness of the past, and are the subject of interest to researchers.

What do we know about the authors of these ancient engravings? Archaeologists have located numerous settlements from the Stone Age located in the area of water sources, which were numerous at the time. “These are concentrations of stone and flint articles, fragments of pottery, quern stones used to grind plant food, bones from farm or hunted animals. Sometimes there are also traces of primitive dwellings in the shape of stone circles, which are the basis of huts or tents covered with skins” – the professor explains.

Prof. Kobusiewicz, besides research on the settlements is also taking part in recording the rock art. One of the wadi, named by archaeologists “Coloured Wadi” is studied by the professor. “The Wadi is over a dozen kilometres long. Rock engravings, largely in groups, though sometimes alone, are located on its sandy slopes. Last season, the picture and photographic documentation was continued and previously found engravings were copied onto foils” – the archaeologist explained.

See the above page for more details and a photograph of one of the rock art scenes. Click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger photograph, which shows the painted details with greater clarity.

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