Rock Art Mapping Project II

South Africa is home to one of the world’s most spectacular mountain chains, the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park (UDP). In these mountains is a treasure trove of priceless art, left behind by the country's oldest known inhabitants, the San people.

The Rock Art Mapping Project (RAMP), 2010-2012, was funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and saw the creation of the first digital archive of San rock art sites in the UDP World Heritage Site. The project, run in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), created a comprehensive database containing records for 1,221 rock art sites (and 80 previously undocumented sites) all visited by ACT’s archaeologist, Vicky Nardell.

A number of sites were also visited by survey teams who 3D laser scanned and created highly accurate models of the shelters. Virtual tours and videos were also created, and spatial mapping and analysis was conducted by the GIS team. A promotional video with more detail can be found at:

As an extension of the RAMP, ACT has been working outside of the protected UDP region in the “buffer zone” area between the parks. This region has largely been ignored by researchers as the vast majority of rock art sites fall on private land and sites do not receive the same protection and management as the park. Teams have been documenting and monitoring sites, exploring for new, unrecorded sites and advising private land owners on site maintenance.

The RAMP team also trained members from the Department of Antiquities in Malawi on basic rock art documentation, and educated children at local schools on the San legacy. These activities contributed to the receipt of a prestigious Heritage Award in 2012 from the provincial heritage authority, AMAFA (AkwaZulu Natali). The award recognised ACT's educational and environmental efforts over the last decade, contributing to heritage conservation in the province.

Projects funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) – Now the National Lotteries Commission.

Visit the NLC website for more information on projects supported by the National Lottery.

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