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A Painted Ridge: Rock art and performance in the Maclear District, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa by David Mendel Witelson. Paperback; 203x276mm; x+148 pages; 39 figures (31 colour pages). 91 2019 Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 98. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781789692440. £35.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781789692457. Book contents pageDownload Full PDF   Buy Now

A Painted Ridge is a book about the San (Bushmen) practice of rock painting. In it, David Witelson explores a suite of spatially close San rock painting sites in the Maclear District of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. As a suite, the sites are remarkable because, despite their proximity to each other, they share patterns of similarity and simultaneous difference. They are a microcosm that reflects, in a broad sense, a trend found at other painted sites in South Africa. Rather than attempting to explain these patterns chiefly in terms of chronological breaks or cultural discontinuities, this book seeks to understand patterns of similarity and difference primarily in terms of the performative nature of San image-making. In doing so, the bygone and almost unrecorded practice of San rock art is considered relative to ethnographically well-documented and observed forms of San expressive culture. The approach in the book draws on concepts and terminology from the discipline of performance studies to characterise the San practice of image-making as well as to coordinate otherwise disparate ideas about that practice. It is a study that aims to explicate the nuances of what David Lewis-Williams called the ‘production and consumption’ of San rock art.

About the Author
David Mendel Witelson is a doctoral candidate with Professor David Pearce at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Rock Art Research Institute. His doctoral research is on hunter-gatherer rock art in the north Eastern Cape Province of South Africa with a focus on the role that image-making plays in establishing spatial connections and social relations. In addition to rock art, his research interests include the Holocene archaeology of southern Africa, archaeological method and theory, and the intersection of mainstream archaeological and rock art research. He has published previously in the fields of rock art and lithic analysis. David lives in Linden, Johannesburg.
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