WADI SURA - THE CAVE OF BEASTS. A rock art site in the Gilf Kebir (SW Egypt) - Rudolph Kuper


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    In collaboration with:
     Franziska Bartz, Erik Büttner, Frank Darius,
     Frank Förster, Sabine Krause, Hans Leisen,
     Heiko Riemer, Jürgen Seidel and András Zboray

     513 pp, 445 full colour pages, numerous coloured figures, tables and maps
     size 24 x 34 cm, hardcover and half linen-bound, 3 folded plates

    70 years after the discovery of the famous “Cave of Swimmers” in the heart of the Libyan Desert by the “English Patient” László Almásy, only 10 km further west along the edge of the Gilf Kebir plateau, Massimo and Jacopo Foggini detected another painted shelter which – with its exceedingly rich and complex imagery – clearly surpasses all comparable rock art sites in Egypt, if not in the entire Sahara. About 8000 single figures, among them numerous hybrid creatures that inspired its name, “The Cave of Beasts”, offer unique insights into daily life and spirituality of a so far unknown past cultural world of about 8000 years ago and certainly range this shelter among the most important prehistoric sites of the continent. In order to make this extraordinary cultural heritage broadly accessible for scientific studies as well as for the larger public, an interdisciplinary
         research project was launched in 2009, financed by the German Research Council (DFG), which aims at a comprehensive documentation of the rock art as well as at its placement in the archaeological context of the surrounding landscape. In summer 2013, the first of three planned volumes will be published, presenting on 220 double pages the complete picture trove of Wadi Sura II in scale 1:2, based on high resolution digital photography and straightened by 3D laser scanning. The volume will be supplemented by 13 articles dealing with the context of the pictures and their archaeological setting.


    R. Kuper Foreword 8
    R. Kuper From nowhere to Hollywood – The story of Wadi Sura 10
    A. Zboray Wadi Sura in the context of regional rock art 16
    F. Förster & R. Kuper Catching the Beasts – Myths and messages in rock art 20
    R. Kuper The Cologne Wadi Sura Project 24
    H. Riemer & F. Bartz The archaeological survey: Rock art and landscape in context 28
    H. Riemer Dating the paintings of Wadi Sura 34
    H. Leisen, E. Büttner, S. Krause & J. Seidel 3D laser scanning and digital photo documentation in Wadi Sura 38
    F. Förster Figuring out: Computer aided rock art recording 46
    H. Riemer Rock shelters: Locations of rock art 50
    S. Krause, H. Riemer & H. Leisen Paints and pigments 54
    H. Leisen & S. Krause State of preservation and conservation aspects 58
    R. Kuper Visitors and vandals – The impact of desert tourism 62
    F. Darius The Wadi Sura environment 64
    General plan 69
    User’s guide 72
    Photo pages 74
    References 511