Hundreds Of Rock Paintings Found In Tanzania By Polish Archaeologist

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AncientPages.com - Hundreds of ancient rock paintings have been discovered in the Swaga Swag reserve in the Kondoa region in central Tanzania.

Many of the rock art include depictions of animals, meteors and comets are several thousand years old, according to a Polish archaeologist who made this important discovery in the isolated Tanzanian area mostly inhabited only by lions, elephants and giraffes.

The newly discovered paintings resemble those from the UNESCO list. They were made with red or white dye. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

The newly discovered paintings resemble those from the UNESCO list. They were made with red or white dye. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

"During this year`s research alone I located over 50 places in which there were dozens, sometimes even hundreds of paintings of different ages", Maciej Grzelczyk from the Institute of Religious Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, told PAP.

Interestingly, the painting, which are made with red or white dye, resemble those at Kondoa, a nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site, located only a few dozen kilometers away.

"Red paintings are particularly varied: in addition to the images of animals, there are also meteors or comets. This is rare not only in African archaeology,” Grzelczyk said.

The red paintings are older, made by hunters and gatherers, perhaps even several thousand years ago. The white ones are from several hundred to several dozen years old. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

The red paintings are older, made by hunters and gatherers, perhaps even several thousand years ago. The white ones are from several hundred to several dozen years old. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

“There are also figures with characteristic heads that resemble baobab trees. Perhaps we are dealing with images related to mythology - according to the local beliefs, baobabs played an important role in the creation of mankind.”

Archaeologists believe that the red paintings are older, made by hunters and gatherers, perhaps even several thousand years ago. The white ones are much younger (from several hundred to several dozen years old) but they were never placed over the red paintings, which are very old. Probably the artists believed that those paintings were made by their ancestors.

Rock painting, Tanzania. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

Rock painting, Tanzania. Image credit: M. Grzelczyk via Science in Poland

The younger, white paintings only show animals, mainly giraffes and elephants; often pregnant and sometimes even during delivery. These drawings could have played an important role during fertility rituals - the locals prayed that the animals hunted on a daily basis would successfully reproduce and thus provide plenty of game for hunters, according to Grzelczyk.

As Grzelczyk explained, "to this day, rituals during which the local people pray for rain, are celebrated near such paintings. But the paintings themselves are no longer being made."

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