First in situ pXRF analyses of rock paintings in Erongo, Namibia: results, current limits, and prospects

Abstract : Namibia is one of the southern African countries hosting the richest rock art heritage, with thousands of rock paintings. Although numerous studies investigated their distribution, style, and possible meaning, few are known about the materials used to perform these paintings. Our in situ study aimed at identifying the diversity of pigments and alterations of some rock paintings in the northwestern part of the Erongo (Namibia). It relies on extensive pXRF analyses of 35 figures from eight rock art sites of the area. Despite common limits of in situ pXRF analyses, the extensive number of figures analyzed and the original data treatment that we performed pioneered the first scientific analyses of the pigments from rock painting sites in the Erongo Mountains. Furthermore, the study also confirmed the presence of iron oxide pigments on a portion of wall exposed during the excavations carried out at the archeological site of Leopard Cave and of possibly datable alterations over several paintings, paving the way to future chronological analyses of past tradition of rock paintings in Central Namibia.
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Guilhem Mauran, Matthieu Lebon, Florent Detroit, Benoît Caron, Alma Nankela, et al.. First in situ pXRF analyses of rock paintings in Erongo, Namibia: results, current limits, and prospects. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Springer, inPress, ⟨10.1007/s12520-019-00787-7⟩. ⟨mnhn-02144748⟩

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