a1 Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne, Jennerstr. 8, Cologne D-50823, Germany Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
During the middle and late Holocene, the prehistoric inhabitants of the Sahara articulated their agency under conditions of aridification in part through aesthetic symbolic behaviour that became petrified, as it were, in ubiquitous rock art. Rock art, predominantly depicting domestic animals, continued to be produced throughout the later Holocene, despite deteriorating environmental conditions that necessitated other adaptive strategies. Artistic production appears to have ignored the environmental changes and evolved an aesthetic that, initially, celebrated animals for the function for which they were domesticated and, subsequently, for their looks, symbolic capital and potential to express status. In the most recent periods, art production evolves into a symbolism that is entirely based on, and communicated through, camel imagery.
(Received January 20 2011)
(Accepted August 22 2011)
(Revised August 04 2011)
Tilman Lenssen-Erz is head of rock-art research at the African Archaeology division of the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne. His focus of research lies in a contextual approach to rock art in Namibia and eastern Sahara, where he has guided many expeditions. He has edited six volumes of The Rock Paintings of the Upper Brandberg and has published widely on spatial and ecological issues in rock art.