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1978-08-13 Scouts Search for Bulawayo Rock Paintings
Kyle Hannan (left) takes notes as Clinton Jones removes paint marks from a rock painting.
Are there any rock paintings in your garden?This appeal comes from two Bulawayo Scouts who are working on a project for their archeological proficiency badges. Kyle Hannan and Clinton Jones of the 8th Hillside Scout Group are trying to locate Rock Painting sites which are not listed on the National Museum records. "We started working on the project about 2 months ago and now only have three weeks left to complete it" said Kyle."We are quite sure there must be some really good paintings in the Hillside Dames and Burnside area, but we've had very little response to an advert we put in the newspaper last week. "When we started out we got a list of sites already known in Bulawayo - but the list i incomplete. Our aim is to find as many unlisted rock paintings as possible" Clinton explained.
To date they have visited all the rock paintings on record within the boundaries of the city, and have also discovered six sites not listed. One of the most promising discoveries can be found on the vacant plot along Flemming Drive, Burnside. "There are some really superb paintings on a rocky ledge. They are in good condition and dont seem to have been tampered with. They are also a relatively new discovery as they arent on the museum list" said Clinton. Each painting is examined in detail and special notes are made of surroundings. The condition of the drawings and the type of figures used are also recorded.
"We look to see whether the site would be any good for excavation purposes as pieces of pottery and bones uncovered can say a lot about the life of the people who lived there" Kyle said. Colouring, weapon detail and animal life are other important aspects they look for. Colouring can give some indication of age and will show whether one figure has been superimposed on another. The type of figures also helps to determine how old a painting may be. This depends on whether the figures are in outline or more solid. The outlines come from an earlier period. But regardless of age we take photographs and make tracings of them all. Tracing can be difficult because many of the paintings are badly faded. We use tracing paper and plastic but its hard to distinguish one figure from another" they said. Some of the drawings have been spoilt by those who do not realise their value. Kyle and Clinton tried to restore one when they found it had been covered by what they assumed were chalk drawings. We used warm water and a sponge to try and remove the white marks but were unsuccessful. We took a closer look at the substances and found that it was paint" Clinton explained. We dont have the qualifications to do full restoration work. This is left to the experts. But we try to make sure that anything we find is not damaged during our examinations" Kyle added. All the information they collect will be collated and presented to the Keeper of Antiquities at the Museum, Mr N. Walker, for security, before they know whether they have passed their proficiency test.
Both boys have always been interested in archeology and have picked up pottery and stone age tools in their gardens. "It seemed natural to choose this topic for our badge. But we've still got some hard work to do before its finnished. We will put all our information in order, and each site will have its own photographs, tracings and data. We hope that this will enlarge he museums records even if we cant complete the list" they said. Anyone who can help with the project is asked to phone Clinton Jones at Bulawayo 882260 or contact Kyle Hannan at 58 Percy Avenue, Hillside.

Ack:- The Bulawayo Chronicle Newspaper