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Rockshelters Of Las Geel. Republic Of Somaliland

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The following is the abstract of the paper written by the French research team; Gutherz, J.-P. Cros & J. Lesur tittled ‎‎“The discovery of new rock paintings in the Horn of Africa: The rockshelters of Las Geel, SOMALILAND‎.
An archaeological survey was carried out by a French team in November and December 2002 in the Somaliland ‎Republic. The objective was the search for rock shelters and caves containing stratified archaeological infills ‎capable of documenting the period when production economy appeared in this part of the Horn of Africa (circa 5th ‎and 2nd millennia B.C.). The Las Geel site, a granite rock sheltering about ten shelters decorated with polychrome ‎paintings, was discovered in the course of the survey.

These paintings, in an excellent state of preservation, mainly ‎represent humpless cows with large lyre-shaped or arched horns and the neck decorated with a kind of „plastron”. ‎The cows are accompanied by stocky human figures with spindle-shape legs and raised arms. There are also ‎some figures of canidae placed beside men, a single giraffe and some antelopes. The evident superposition of ‎several graphic styles will no doubt make it possible to establish a chronology of Neolithic or Protohistoric rock art ‎in this part of the Horn of Africa.

Through the abundance of its paintings, their quality, the originality of the type of ‎representation of bovines and human figures, the Las Geel site will henceforth take its place among the major ‎Holocene sites of rock art in this region of Africa. A future mission planned for November 2003 will make it ‎possible to undertake a detailed study of these paintings and their archaeological context. This note constitutes a ‎preliminary presentation of this exceptional discovery.‎

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