Saturday, April 07, 2012

Palaeolithic rock art on the verge of destruction.

Archaeology and Conservation Services

Per Stormyr of the excellent Quarryscapes project sent me this article, and it is yet another vile piece of news from Egypt about the destruction of heritage.

Please share, forward and otherwise publicize this story.

In 2007 one of the most important recent archaeological discoveries in Egypt were made in Wadi (Chor) Abu Subeira near Aswan: A team led by Adel Kelany of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) found a stunning assemblage of petroglyphs dating to the Late Palaeolithic era (c. 15-20.000 years ago). Ongoing surveys have shown that the initial find was the tip of the iceberg only, which makes Subeira perhaps the richest place of “Ice-Age” art in North Africa, comparable to the site of Qurta, 50 km to the north. Unfortunately, the Subeira rock art is extremely threatened by modern mining, which lately has proven to be even more widespread than previously thought: A truly unique testimony of mankind’s early art is now on the verge of destruction.

The rock art

15-20.000 years ago the waters of the Nile were much higher than today. The broad Wadi Abu Subeira may have been a small “fjord”, reaching several kilometres into the Eastern Desert: A great habitat for wildlife in the otherwise hyperarid environment and a great place for humans to stay – to fish and hunt – and to access the interior of the desert and perhaps the Red Sea.

See the above page for the full story.

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