Fishing in the Rain: Control of Rain-Making and Aquatic Resources at a Previously Undescribed Rock Art Site in Highland Lesotho

In: Journal of African Archaeology

This paper describes a previously unrecorded rock art site in the highlands of Lesotho, southern Africa. It then explores the significance of the paintings at this site, which adds to the still small number of locations in the wider Maloti-Drakensberg region at which fishing scenes are depicted. Unusually, paintings of fish at this site are closely associated with that of a rain-animal and with other images, including dying eland and clapping and dancing human figures, that have clear shamanistic references. Drawing also on the local excavated archaeological record, we argue that these images may collectively refer to the power of Bushman shamans to harness and make rain, using that power to produce socially desirable benefits, including perhaps opportunities for group aggregation around seasonally restricted spawning runs of fish.

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