Rock art 3D models

'Rosette Stone' of South African rock art

This site is commonly referred to as the “Rosetta Stone” of southern African rock art because it was in this iconic panel that archaeologists first uncovered a significant key to understanding the symbolism of San rock art. First thought to be simple reproductions of everyday life and hunting by a primitive people, many of the mystical images are now seen as ‘therianthropic’, or images seen by shamans (healers) while in dance-induced trances.


Battle Cave rock art 

The Drakensberg Mountains contain the largest and most concentrated group of rock art paintings south of the Sahara. The fragile paintings date back approximately 4 000 years are the only tangible record that remains of the first inhabitants of the country whose hunter-gatherer culture is extinct today.This splendid battle scene is to the far right of the shelter where there are three clusters of human figures. At first this painting seems to be an obvious depiction of a fight between two rival groups, but as with most San rock art, initial appearances are deceptive.


Eland Cave main panel

This rock art shelter is located in South Africa’s Maloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage site. The extensively painted cave is one of the best painted sites in the country, and a beautiful group of Eland can be seen in this image. The San not only relied on the Eland for meat and nourishment, but believed that the Eland had a mystical potency which resided in the blood and fat of the animal.


Eland Cave Full Site


Game Pass Shelter

Game Pass Shelter is located in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa and is one of the best preserved rock art sites in southern Africa. The main frieze features a magnificent herd of eland, South Africa’s largest antelope, with smaller human figures in running postures.


Sun petroglyph site

The Rooipoort Nature Reserve in South Africa contains a wealth of ancient rock engravings left behind as a legacy of past civilisations. The four thousand plus rock engravings are exceptional in both quality and diversity of subject, making the collection one of its kind in Southern Africa. The engraving have lasted for thousands of years, however they are deteriorating over time as a result of natural erosion and animal movements. 


Mystic panel at Eland Cave

This fascinating panel shows a mystical image of a therianthrope (half-human, half-animal). The lines from the head likely depict a feeling of light-headedness experienced by the Shaman during a trance. There is another figure to the left which looks almost alien in appearance.


Enhanced mystic panel

Enhanced images have been used to texture this model to show the faded images in more detail.


Spirit-world panel, Battle Cave

Many Drakensberg rock art sites depict therianthropes (half human, half animal). This symbolises the Shaman in a trance state who has taken on the power of an animal.


Bushman's Pools faded paintings

The Bushman’s Pools rock art site in South Africa is a beautiful site that contains a number of fascinating paintings created by the San people . Many of the paintings are very faded and almost not visible to the naked eye. ACT has been using image enhancement and 3D laser scanning to reveal these lost images and show them on a 3D model.


Bushman's Pools enhanced paintings

The natural weathering process of rock has resulted in many paintings becoming faded, and sometimes not even visible to the naked eye. ACT has been using DStretch image enhancement techniques to go back in time and uncover these lost images. These tools can be used to reveal rock art paintings and add to the growing database of San art in the Drakensberg.


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