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Searching for Africa's earliest Painters





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In southwestern Zimbabwe, the Matobo Hills are well-known for their thousands of rock art sites. Since 2017, a team of French and Zimbabwean archaeologists and rock art specialists have been studying these caves. Their goal is to date the paintings and identify the pictorial techniques used by Prehistorian artists.
This includes analysing the many tools, ropes, and rocks found in the Pomongwe Cave, one of the richest of the area. New technologies are used to reveal paintings that are now invisible to the eye. Scientists found that some walls show several layers of pigments, a sign that different artists from different periods of time have painted over older paintings. This leads to new interrogations: what is the chronology of these paintings, and did the techniques evolve with time? Meanwhile, archaeologists are studying the subsoil of the Pomongwe cave in order to date the pigments found in the sediments.

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