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digital photograph

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Digital photograph (colour); view looking out of rock shelter. Itololo, Tanzania.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 27 July 2003 (date digitized)
    • February 1995 (original photograph)
  • Production place

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • File size: 122 megabytes
    • Resolution: 300 dots per inch
  • Curator's comments

    Containing some of the densest concentrations of rock art in East Africa, Tanzania includes many different styles and periods of rock art, the earliest of which may date back more than 7,000 years. Consisting mainly of paintings, rock art is found predominantly in the Kondoa region and the adjoining Lake Eyasi basin; those at Kondoa were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.
    The existence of painted rock art was first reported in 1908 by missionaries. However, the first systematic examinations date back to between the 1930ss to 1950s by the renowned paleoanthropologists Mary and Louis Leakey (having noted many sites in the 1920s), documenting over 1600 painted images at 186 sites north of Kondoa.
    Scholars have classified the rock art in Tanzania into three main stylistic groups: Hunter-Gatherer, also known as Sandawe; Pastoral; and Late Whites. Hunter-Gatherer or Sandawe rock art is characterised by fine-line paintings of animals, human figures, handprints and circular designs. These are the earliest paintings, thought to date to possibly more than 7,000 years ago. Pastoral rock art, dating back up to 3,000 years ago, yields many fewer paintings and generally depicts cattle in profile, and sometimes sheep and/or goats, a few dogs and figures holding sticks and bows. Late White paintings are crude, finger painted geometric and animal images made by Bantu language, iron-working farmers who moved into the region in the last 300-500 years.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • TANKON0050001 (TARA number)
Digital photograph (colour); view looking out of rock shelter. Itololo, Tanzania. Scanned

Digital photograph (colour); view looking out of rock shelter. Itololo, Tanzania. Scanned

Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description



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Object reference number: EAF157146

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