Egyptian ritual images from the Neolithic period

Finds from the Neolithic Period at Qubbet el-Hawa in Southern Egypt add to our understanding of Egypt's early history and point to new lines of research
From the article:
"A completely new aspect at Qubbet el-Hawa has now been uncovered during an excavation begun at the necropolis in 2015. The team led by Prof. Morenz with Amr El Hawary, Andreas Dorn, Tobias Gutmann, Sarah Konert and David Sabel discovered much older Neolithic rock art from the 4th millennium BC. “Style and iconography provide solid clues when dating these,” says the scientist. “It opens up a new archeological dimension”. Some of these engravings on the rock wall are clearly Egyptian in terms of iconography and stylistics, while others are clearly pre-Egyptian as regards the presentation method and motif.

The images were pecked into the rock with a hard point and are now barely perceivable due to their considerable age. Only the archeologically precise recording of the traces and the drawing of the outlines revealed the images with noteworthy iconography. The initially confusing-looking arrangement of dots allows three figures to be seen upon closer inspection: a hunter with bow, a dancing man with raised arms and, between them, an African ostrich.

“The archer clearly shows hunting for the large flightless bird, while the man with raised arms can be identified as a hunt dancer,” reports Prof. Morenz. The dancer apparently wears a bird mask. The scene is reminiscent of the conceptual world of hunting, masks and shamanism, as known from many parts of the Earth – including of ostrich hunting by what are known as San (bushmen)."

Be sure to click on the images (on the right hand side) to see the scene more clearly in the drawings made by the team.

It will be interesting to see how these images may be related to later iconography of dancers and birds on later pottery such as that from the Naqada II period.
Edit: updated for Blogger


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