The Vaalekop rock art site is in an overhang on the north bank of the upper Mooi River about 100m downstream of the Inchbrakie Falls. Rock paintings were present on three surfaces. The paintings comprise images of several white rhebok, a rear-view perspective of an eland, and four rhebok in red and white. There were no archaelogical deposits found in the floor of the overhang. The site is part of the nexus of Later Stone Age hunter-gatherer living and painting sites in the southern uplands of the Thukela Basin. Two sites in the area have been exacavated. The Vaalekop rock art site has the potential to augment our understanding of the history of this area and specialists therefore recommended that the site be photographed in detail using the latest technicques and that the rock be removed to the KwaZulu-Natal Museum for safekeeping and further study. The Archaeologist responsible for the rescue of the panel of rock art is Jeremy Hollman from the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.

Click on the link below for the detailed report:


The interior of the overhang was small and cramped. Props were put in place to prevent the unexpected collapse of the roof of the overhang. The arrows indicate the position of the large painted panel (lowest arrow) and the smaller painted panel (top arrow).

Removal began with making a back cut several centimetres behind the face of the rock. It took one and a half day's work to complete the back cut, which was about 1,3 m long and about 30 cm deep. The red arrows show the guideline for the back cut. The white arrow shows the painted surface.

Dowels were inserted at strategic places to prevent horizontal layers of rock from splitting as they were cut loose.

A rotary cutter with tungsten-carbide blade was used to make most of the cuts in the rock.

The cutting produced lots of fine dust.

Using an electric air blower to blow dust off the rock paintings. The rock art was not damaged by the dust.

A worker cleans out one of the two side cuts made to remove the painted block of stone.

Four people carried the large piece of rock art, weighing about 100 kg, 30 m up the slope to the waiting vehicle.

The rock is wrapped in a soft, foam mattress and tied onto a wooden cradle.

The stone on its cradle is loaded onto the back of a waiting KwaZulu-Natal Museum vehicle.

The scar left by the removal of the painted rock is about 1,3 m long and 30 cm high.

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