A Palaeolithic, life-size Nubian ibex carved on rock: Adel Kelany with new discoveries in Wadi Abu Subeira, Upper Egypt

It is terribly difficult to photograph the Late Palaeolithic ibex! So rather see the tracing by Adel Kelany and his team, in the recent paper uploaded to academa.edu. Photo: Per Storemyr

It is terribly difficult to photograph the almost two metres long Late Palaeolithic ibex, with an auroch in its belly! So rather see the tracing by Adel Kelany and his team, in the recent paper uploaded to academia.edu. Photo: Per Storemyr

Archaeologist Adel Kelany of MSA Aswan recently published a key paper on the Late Palaeolithic rock art in Wadi Abu Subeira, Upper Egypt. The paper reports findings from the site CAS-13, which features a true rock art masterpiece: a life-size, almost two metres long Nubian ibex, accompanied by large-scale images of aurochs. The findings tie in with previously reported Late Palaeolithic rock art in Subeira, a wadi north of Aswan. It is also similar to the now famous Late Palaeolithic rock art analysed by Dirk Huyge and team at Qurta near Gebel el-Silsila and at el-Hosh further downstream of the Nile river. This is rock art dating 15-20.000 years back in time and similar to the grand European Late Palaeolithic rock art traditions. Read on for link to Adel’s paper and more information.

The Late Palaeolithic rock art in Wadi Abu Subeira is of outstanding universal value and has been the theme of several articles on this website. It was discovered almost ten years ago by Adel Kelany and his co-workers Mohamed Ahmed Negm and Adel Tohami. Since then this little team has found many more Late Palaeolithic images, implying that Subeira is now a key site of Late Palaeolithic rock art in Africa. Adel’s recent paper focusing on the life-size ibex is part of an ongoing effort to make the rock art available to the public.

It is hot in Wadi Abu Subeira! So the site guard needs water while caring for the Late Palaeolithic ibex, carved on the slab in the middle of the image. Photo: Per Storemyr

It is hot in Wadi Abu Subeira! So the site guard needs water while caring for the Late Palaeolithic ibex, carved on the slab in the middle of the image. Photo: Per Storemyr

Sadly, the rock art is under great pressure from modern mining. But Adel and his team are trying to preserve as much as possible of this unique archaeology. They have had some success in stopping, redirecting and controlling mining operations, implying that the very large site, spanning many square kilometres, is still relatively well-protected. Yet, it is a matter of time until the rock might disappear.

Together with the similar rock art at Qurta and el-Hosh, it deserves a place on the World Heritage List. We cannot lose such art! If so, we will miss a great opportunity of research on our history: the relationship between North Africa and Europe in the Late Palaeolithic.

Here’s the link to Adel’s recent paper

  • Kelany, A. (2012): More Late Palaeolithic Rock Art at Wadi Abu Subeira, Upper Egypt. Bulletin van de Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, 83, 2012, 5-22. View at academia.edu

Previous papers, and articles on the Subeira Late Palaeolithic rock art on this website

Map

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!
This entry was posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Heritage destruction, Rock art and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Palaeolithic, life-size Nubian ibex carved on rock: Adel Kelany with new discoveries in Wadi Abu Subeira, Upper Egypt

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