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Title: A comparative analysis of rock art in southern Africa : animals and cosmological models
Author: Ndlovu, Ndukuyakhe
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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This dissertation examines the animal pattern derived from the detailed statistical analysis I carried out of the published rock art data, the data from Brandberg/Daureb region, and fieldwork I conducted in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. This study, which highlights the value of quantitative analysis and attempts to find alternative interpretations for animal representation in rock art, is the first overview of the distribution of animal in southern African rock art. It provides an opportunity to explain an aspect of the art that has not previously received much attention in southern African rock art studies. While it has been previously noted by different rock art researchers that there is animal variation in terms of which animals are dominant species throughout southern Africa, this study provides the quantitative extent information on how far into which such variation exist. In attempting to provide an explanation for for variation in the representation of animals animal variation in southern African rock art, I use two main approaches: (i) correlation between most represented animals in the art and the ten vegetation biomes of southern Africa, and (ii) the application of the an adapted four-cell matrix model aimed at assessing alternative interpretations of rock art, in particular, the totemic and secular interpretations. Through the first approach, I show that there is a reasonable correlation between the areas where each of the four animals (eland, giraffe, kudu, and springbok) dominates (eland, giraffe, kudu, and springbok) and their known natural distribution. This is confirmed by their historically recorded natural distribution and the by faunal records. By applying the modified four-cell matrix model to rock art data from six regions, I establish that one animal in each takes the central predominance in each. This is a characteristic of shamanic communities. However, the major deviation is that the four-cell derived interpretation does not overly emphasise the dominance of eland to the exclusion of other animals that are well represented in the art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available