Rock Art Documentation Project

Much have been published on the rock art of the Uweinat / Gilf Kebir region, however there is no systematic work covering all known sites. The three main publications are Rhotert's Libysche Felsbilder, Winkler's Rock Pictures of Upper Egypt II. and Van Noten's Rock Art of the Jebel Uweinat. At first all I attempted was to match the sites visited by us to the sites published, and to find other published sites. However the task proved to be much more difficult then anticipated. Only Rhotert made an attempt to systematically number and record all the sites he saw. Winkler lumped many sites together, and published photos of only a fraction of what he recorded. Van Noten does not identify any of his published sites, and based on the book it is impossible to establish which details belong to the same site, or to sites published by others.

Frustrated by this state of affairs, I started to work on collecting all relevant publications, and match their photos to my own taken in the field and against each other, compiling a full catalogue of all the sites with proper references, complete with a complete photo-documentation of the site. During the course of this work I had the opportunity to consult the original photographs of Rhotert, Winkler and Van Noten, which have greatly clarified a number of inconsistencies, and revealed a number of sites that were recorded, but not published. My sincere thanks to Peter Stigerwald of the Frobenius Institut, Frankfurt, Dr Patricia Spencer of the Egypt Exploration Society, London, and Dr Els Cornelissen of the Africa Museum, Tervuren (Bruxelles) for allowing me to access their photo archives. My special thanks to Giancarlo Negro, editor of the Sahara journal, Friedrich Berger and Jean-Marc Mercier for providing me with photos and description of unpublished sites.

Contributions much appreciated !

If you have any information on rock art sites in the Uweinat - Arkenu - Gilf Kebir region that are likely to be unpublished, please contact me.

With all the help and support, the compilation phase is nearing to an end. I believe I have consulted every published book and article (included in the
Bibliography section, please let me know if I missed something !) and a final field trip is planned for October 2002 to survey some outlying areas of Karkur Talh to make the work complete. Publication is expected for 2003. Below is an example of how the compiled material looks for a single site:

Karkur Talh - Site 67

Discovered: Ahmed Hassanein Bey (1923)

Ahmed Hassanein Bey, Crossing the Untraversed Lybian Desert, National Geographic Magazine, Vol.46. No.3. (Sep. 1924) - (Also in The Geographical Journal, Vol.64. No.5. (Nov.1924), and the book "The Lost Oases", Century, London & New York, 1925.)
Kemal el Dine, M.H. Breuil, Les Gravures Rupestres du Djebel Ouenat, Revue Scientifique Illustre, Vol.66. No.3. (11 Feb. 1928), Fig. 57.
Hans Rhotert, Lybische Felsbilder, Darmstadt, 1952, Talh 24, Plate IX/1,2,3.
H.A. Winkler, Rock-Drawings of Southern Upper Egypt II., London, 1939, Site 74, Plate XXXI/1,2, XXXII/1,2, XXXIII/1.
Winkler Photographs (1938), EES Archives, London, Site 74, Photos M1032-1047.
Paolo Graziosi, Rock Art in the Lybian Sahara, Firenze, 1962, Fig. 73.
Francis van Noten, Rock Art of the Jebel Uweinat, Graz, 1978, Figs. 9, 13, 32, 35, 37, 39, 56, 58, 81.

The site is located in the middle-upper section of the main valley, on the south side. It consists of a large outcropping rock with two near vertical sides facing north and west, both covered with engravings of giraffes and other wild fauna, humans and hunting scenes. This was the "Giraffe Rock" discovered by Hassanein Bey, the first site to be reported from Uweinat.

Click on photos to enlarge (larger image will open in a new window)

Site overview:

North face:

North upper section:

North lower section:

West face:

ZBORAY, András
Rock Art of the Libyan Desert

Fliegel Jezerniczky Expeditions, Newbury, 2005

The final result of the five year project has now beed published on DVD. The work is a complete catalogue and bibliography of all known (to the end of 2004) rock art sites in the Gilf Kebir - Jebel Uweinat area. It contains the description of over 500 sites, with more than 7500 photographs. The DVD may be ordered on-line.