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Information

Name:Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes
Area:Southern Africa
Country:Namibia
Registered Year:2008 
Type:Natural Heritage
Criteria:(ix)
See description of criteria
Brief Description:
Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes has one of the largest concentrations of?petroglyphs, i.e. rock engravings, in Africa. Over 2,000 figures have been documented to date. Most of these well-preserved?engravings represent rhinoceroses, elephants, ostriches, and giraffes, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints. The property also includes six painted rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. The objects excavated from two parts of the property, including stone artefacts, ostrich eggshell beads, and schist pendants, dated from the Late Stone Age. Representations of humans, or of flying birds, are rare and it has been suggested that the figures were produced to illustrate the ritual transformation of humans into animals. The most celebrated example is the ‘Lion Man' a lion with five toes on each paw. The imagery suggests the rock art was linked to the belief system of hunter-gatherers who dominated the area until the arrival of pastoralists around 1000 AD. The site forms a coherent, extensive and high quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gatherer communities in this part of southern Africa over at least 2,000 years; and, eloquently illustrates the links between the ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers. This property is Namibia's first World Heritage site.

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