Time, Color, and Sound: Revisiting the rock art of Didima Gorge, South Africa

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  2. Dr Aron Mazel
Author(s)Mazel AD
Publication type Article
JournalTime and Mind
Year2011
Volume4
Issue3
Pages283-296
ISSN (print)1751-696X
ISSN (electronic)1751-6978
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This paper explores the abundance of rock art in the Didima Gorge where 3909 paintings were documented in 17 rock shelters. It is proposed that the richness of the gorge’s rock art is associated with its acoustic properties which may have established the gorge as a significant spiritual place for the San hunter-gatherers. In making this correlation, the paper explores Pager’s (1971) comment that the Zulu name for the gorge means ‘The Reverberating One.’ It is proposed that the word ‘Didima’ may be an adaptation of the /Xam word ‘!gum’ meaning 'to roar' (Raper 2010 pers. comm.). The relationship between the rock art and acoustics may have been established when the hunter-gatherers intensified their occupation of the northern uKhahlamba-Drakensberg about 3000 years ago, and then deepened it around 2000 years ago with the emergence of shaded polychrome paintings. The need to undertake in-situ acoustic research in Didima Gorge and other valleys in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg is stressed.
PublisherBerg Publishers
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175169711X13046099195474
DOI10.2752/175169711X13046099195474
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