Mysterious Humanoid Painting Discovered in Tanzania

Recently, an archaeologists team from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland spotted unique ancient Sandawe rock art carving while excavating the Amak'hee 4 rock shelter site in Tanzania. Ancient paintings of 3 mysterious, humanoid figures with extremely oversized heads, including bizarre creatures and familiar animals have been discovered under rock overhang that was once home to the ancient Sandawe indigenous group, which have been around for 87,000 years.

The Sandawe are an indigenous group from South Africa and population is still living today. Early work shows that the group may also have the oldest human DNA lineages and the Sandawe today are considered to be descendants of an original Bushmen-like group, the Gogo.

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The majority of the motifs were formed using a reddish dye, while there are also five white images.

Dr Maciej Grzelczyk, of Jagiellonian University’s Institute for the Study of Religions, believes the art’s elision of human and animal characteristics may relate to rituals.

“In this trio, the figures seem to feature stylised buffalo heads.

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“These shapes recall the central dip in the profile of the buffalo head from where the two horns rise and then curve outward away from the head, as well as the downturned ears.”

However, Dr Grzelczyk admitted this was only a best guess, due to environmental depreciation.

The culture of the Sandawe people, who are descended from those who used to inhabit the region, does not include motifs of buffalo-headed people or people who can shapeshift into buffaloes (or vice versa), so the images may depict something else. But, Grzelczyk notes, buffalo horns do play a significant role in some Sandawe rituals.

Whatever they may be, the strange figures are not without precedent. Not far from Amak'hee 4, in the Kondoa region in central Tanzania, two rock shelter paintings in particular bear a strong resemblance to the trio.

At the site Kolo B2, three figures are depicted standing together. At Kolo B1, three figures are depicted horizontally, although laying on the ground.

Now it is difficult to say for sure who these creatures are. Scientists analyzing the drawings come to the conclusion that there are not only images of everyday life, but also of the professions of the elderly. The largest picture contains fragments of hunting and gathering.

The Sandawe believed that ghosts lived in the caves where the drawings were found. Hence, it was customary to perform various rituals and offer sacrifices there. They also used them as a refuge from bad weather and predators.

Although the team is unable to narrow down an exact date for the paintings, the team analyzed the dye on the rock to uncover clues.

Scientists still continue to unravel the secrets of the mysterious drawings.

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