Ecological Perspective of Rock Art of Eritrea in East Africa


  • Sadasivuni Krishna Rao Dept. of History, School of Humanities University of Dodom


Rock art painting and engraving, ecological interpretation, pastoral and agro-pastoral economy.


Rock art study is one of the potential areas of research analysis covering aesthetic, social, economic, technological and environmental aspects. Such interpretations can be derived from understanding the pictographs, petroglyphs and other associated material culture in an ecological context. There are instances of hunting-gathering subsistence activities, agricultural, pastoral economies, warfare, magic and religion etc are reflected in the rock art. Painted caves, open rock art sites and even portable art that were surveyed from different parts of the world have been analyzed to be the centers of coordination and integration of potential competitive groups (Jochim 1983). They are known as ceremonial centers where people gather for decision making relating to various social, economic and religious activities. Onset of Holocene led people adapting to new environments for new subsistence preparations of sedentary settlement and survival. As a result agro-pastoral economic activities along with the other small-scale foraging activities were adopted. Art and religion was expanded more in Africa particularly from Holocene time.Eritrea in East Africa is potential for rock art evidence. Several rock art sites such as cave paintings and engravings were identified from different landscapes of Eritrea. Some pictographs were painted in red and some were found painted in black color. An in-depth study of these rock art sites located in various environmental settings reveals the underlying philosophies of subsistence and settlement on one hand and technology and ecological adaptation of the communities on the other.




How to Cite

Rao, S. K. (2014). Ecological Perspective of Rock Art of Eritrea in East Africa. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 2(4). Retrieved from