Continued Fieldwork in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, Eastern Cape Province
In late 2021 Dr Ghilraen Laue of the Human Sciences Department at the KZN Museum returned to the Groot Winterhoek Mountains to undertake further fieldwork. Dr Laue started working in this under-researched area in 2012 and in the last 10 years has documented 70 new sites, including 11 new sites during this field season. There are still large areas of Groot Winterhoek Mountains that need to be explored and many more sites waiting to be discovered.
This heavily painted shelter is situated high up in a narrow valley of one of the tributaries of the KwaZunga River.
Left: Handprints on a naturally smoothed area of rock. Right: View from the shelter showing the steep terrain.
Dr Laue’s research includes the investigation into depictions of bird therianthropes; creatures with the bodies of swifts and human heads. Three new sites with these types of images were recorded, including a unique image where the ‘wings’ are bent up like arms and have human fingers (see below).
Usually, in these types of images, the body is birdlike with wings stretched out on either side. Although this image has a swift tail, the upper body is human. The remains of a hook-head (a common way of depicting human heads in the region) can be seen above. This image has been enhanced using Dstretch.
Among the many images recorded was this well preserved panel of five human figures with antelope-eared caps.