Zambezi River, the division Bell: the rock art signature in Cahora Bassa Dam (CBD), Tete Province, Mozambique.

  • Author: Décio Muianga
  • Topic: 1000 to 2000 BP,Heritage studies,Rock art studies
  • Country: Mozambique
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Southern Africa is known for its fine brush painted San rock art. This extends from the southern Cape up as far as the Zambezi River. North of the Zambezi San rock art stops and you enter the so called Schematic art zone. The art is dominated by geometric designs, which were termed Red Geometric Tradition Art and it was arguably made by ‘BaTwa’ groups who were culturally akin to modern-day Pygmy groups. No examples of San rock art are known north of the Zambezi. No examples of Red Geometric Tradition art are known south of Zambezi. Although it is easy to walk across the Zambezi because it is often very shallow, it appears to have been a huntergatherer frontier. This paper considers the nature of this boundary or frontier in the Cahora Bassa Dam area. Theoretical writings on boundaries and borders suggest hypotheses to explore the distinction in the rock art and how the Zambezi River may have operated as a boundary. The results, demonstrate that two hunter-gatherer groups with different archaeological signatures occupied this area (San and BaTwa) and the idea of the Zambezi River being a hunter-gatherer border seems invalid.

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