Rock Art Heritage in South Africa - Training workshop 18-22 October 2010

Training Workshop on Rock Engravings Recording

18th – 22nd October 2010 Kimberley, South Africa

The “Science, technologies, rock art” international research group (GDRI-STAR), with the McGregor Museum (Kimberley, South Africa), the Rock Art Research Institute (Johannesburg, South Africa), the CNRS, the Université de Toulouse (France) and the Centre National de Préhistoire (Périgueux, France) are organizing an international workshop which offers a one week training course in recording techniques applied to rock engravings. It is directed to graduate students and post-docs, museum staff and heritage practitioners, mainly from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The training workshop aims to spread advanced skills in the recording of rock engravings sites.

The workshop will comprise lectures, on site demonstrations, discussions and practical exercises. It will provide an introduction to recording techniques for rock art sites with engravings and it will give participants the means to evaluate the techniques currently on offer and learn how they can be used in the study of rock art. The teaching by Southern African and French specialists will be both theoretical and practical, with fieldwork in a nearby rock art site. The courses will focus on practical examples to illustrate real issues that archaeologists and heritage practitioners face and the methods and techniques to tackle these problems.

The training sessions will be divided into:

- Geomorphology and topography applied to rock art studies

- Photography applied to the recording of engravings

- Tracing techniques (direct and without contact)

- Laser scanning recording

- Technological studies and experimentation to assist recording

- Archiving, publication, museum exhibitions

Updated information and a preliminary programme are available online.

Prehistoric Art : A bit of history
France and South Africa are two regions of primary importance in the field of Prehistoric art and since 1929, several major scientific exchanges have taken place that associated French and South-African rock art research teams. Unfortunately, these in-depth interactions were stopped during the Apartheid period and over the past years, very complementary approaches developed in the two countries. In South Africa, ethnological evidences based on indigenous knowledge led to impressive results regarding rock art interpretation. In France, where such evidences are forever lost, early developments included archaeological excavations and material analyses of the figures themselves. Over the past ten years, following the end of the Apartheid regime, teams from the two countries started new joint projects and members of all the participating institutions have worked together at various occasions in the process, paving the way for a new fruitful Franco- South-African collaboration era.

The “Science, technologies, rock art” international research group (GDRI-STAR) aims at fostering collaboration between France and South Africa in the field of rock art research, focusing on recording, material micro-analysis and dating, conservation and public rock art. An original feature of the GDRI-STAR is to include from its start facilities providing state-of-the-art techniques for material micro-analysis, dating and 3-d imaging. They will contribute directly to the archaeological research on rock art materials and its contextual environment.

The actions fostered by GDRI-STAR fall into the following larger and inter-related categories: International Trainings, Research and Networking Activities, Public Rock Art and Knowledge Dissemination.

GDRI-STAR has launched a program of international training courses at the start of the project to foster the development of new bilateral scientific cooperation. A strong mobility of individual researchers from participating institutions is sought to facilitate exchanges between teams and co-publication of the results. The international research group will then contribute to a better visibility of the on-going rock art research in the participating countries at an international level.
Visit the GDRI-STAR.

Spotlight on San Paintings

A film by Luc Ronat (2010, 31 minutes)

Scientific advisers : Philippe Colomban, Céline Paris et Jean-Loïc Le Quellec

Producer : CNRS Images

South Africa has one of the richest rock art heri­tages in the world. Thousands of paintings and engravings are a testament to the artistic talent of the San people who have now completely died out. To further our understanding of these paintings, a team of French and South African scientists car­ried out the first campaign in this country to ana­lyse rock paintings in situ using a Raman spectro­meter. This technique makes it possible to identify the pigments used in the paintings without da­maging them. It is an approach that is equally of interest to chemists, archaeologists and curators.

For more information, please contact Nathalie Lambert
CNRS Images l Chargée de communication
1 place Aristide Briand l 92195 Meudon Cedex l France
Tel : +33 (0)1 45 07 56 92 l Fax : +33 (0)1 45 07 58 60 l

publie le 19/08/2010

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