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Kolo Rock Paints - Depictions of Spiritual Rituals near the Rift Valley





I recently went on a search for paintings some say are depictions of extraterrestrials. Yet upon first hand experience these intricate and sophisticated paintings from Central Tanzania appear to be some of the earliest depictions of spiritual practices, rituals and ceremonies. We were told by a guide that these paintings which may date as far as 30,000 years old are painted with red ochre, blood and possibly urine. Unfortunately many archeologists and researchers can not accurately date the works. Though it may be difficult to perceive the paintings are layer upon layer, conversation upon conversation between peoples living during the past. There has even been a contemporary addition to this conversation though not welcome by many with local grafitti artists. These "vandalisms" have been removed and are not depicted in any of the above photographs. The guides also pointed out that local people continue to utilize these areas for ceremony and some think of it as sacred grounds. At times, while visiting the area remains of recent ceremonies and offerings may be found.

My interest in these works is partially due to the Euro-centric media frenzy over the paintings in Lascaux as well as the inherent importance and centrality of these works birthed from the center of human migration and origin. Also these paintings are "vanishing" as noted by Mary Leakey and this is due to several factors one of which is the lack of funding for conservation. A guide at the paintings noted that it is crucial to gain public attention to these works as weather and human ignorance are causing them to degenerate more rapidly. As this was being talked about I watched another guide smear his finger across one of the painted figures. :(

Many of the figures depicted contain therianthropic forms and the animals depicted are also of a rather curious nature appearing at first representational and then taking on a multitude of characteristics inherent in the various species known to the region, a sort of combinatory morphology of physique.