Mysterious rock art depicting ‘alien-like figures’ uncovered by Kraków academic
Mysterious cave paintings resembling anthropomorphic figures have been discovered by a Kraków academic in Tanzania.
The rock art which dates back hundreds of years was initially discovered in caves in the Swaga Swaga Game Reserve in 2018, but it is only recently that photos have appeared after Maciej Grzelczyk from Jagiellonian University secured funding to return to the site called Amak'hee 4 and document the drawings.
Another shows a similar-shaped figure standing upright and towering over what looks like an elephant.
Yet another shows a figure with a large pumpkin-shaped head and oversized eyes standing alone.
Grzelczyk, a researcher at the university’s Institute for the Study of Religions, said: “Most are in good condition, mainly due to a rock overhang that protects them from flowing water and exposure to excessive sunlight.
“The red paintings are particularly varied: in addition to the images of animals, there are also meteors or comets. This is rare not only in African archaeology.
“Perhaps we are dealing with images related to mythology - according to the local beliefs, baobabs played an important role in the creation of mankind.”
He added: “Particularly noteworthy among the Amak'hee 4 paintings is a scene that centres around three images. In this trio, the figures seem to feature stylised buffalo heads.
“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.
“Even though in the present religion of the Sandawe people—who are descendants of those who created the paintings—we find no elements of anthropomorphisation of buffaloes, nor belief in the possibility of transformation of people into these animals, there are some ritual aspects that offer parallels.”
About 50 metres from Amak'hee 4 site there is another shelter that has white paintings, known as Amak'hee 3.
Grzelczyk found that ‘this functioned as a family residence around 30 to 40 years ago, before the area was made into a game reserve. Along with the white paintings, Amak'hee 3 also contains modern drawings, probably made by children (these include a plane, a ball and an image of a politician).”
He continued: “The white paintings only show animals, mainly giraffes and elephants; often pregnant and sometimes even during delivery.
“These drawings could have played an important role during fertility rituals - the locals prayed that the animals hunted on a daily basis would successfully reproduce and thus provide plenty of game for hunters.”
The researcher will now continue documenting unpublished rock art in the region as, although the sites are known locally, they remain undocumented and unknown to the world at large.