So radiocarbon dating, which measures the steady decline of the isotope carbon 14 in organic materials, cannot be used.
Our earliest date comes from a Namibian cave, where excavated floors contained painted slabs between 19,000 and 26,000 years old.
Hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, rhebok, baboons, ostriches and domesticated animals appear in the art of many areas.
The eland is widely celebrated, although different areas have their own favorites: the elephant in South Africas Cape Province, for example, and a species of antelope called kudu in Zimbabwe. Snakes, lions and fish are not uncommon in the art of the Drakensberg Mountains.Others are faint and crumbling, damaged by time, water and the graffiti of unthinking visitors.By far the most common subjects in rock art are humans--usually shown in profile, sometimes unclothed--and a wide variety of animals.In 1652 the Dutch established the first permanent settlement in Cape Town.As the newcomers expanded their domain over the next three centuries, they frequently displaced indigenous peoples, whose traditional ways of life changed or disappeared entirely.The petroglyphs, which tend to be less figurative, have until recently attracted less attention than the paintings.