Permanent exhibition at the Górka Palace, ul. Wodna 27

Exhibition curator: dr Paweł Polkowski

“Rock art of North Africa” is a permanent exhibition dedicated to engravings and paintings in the Eastern Sahara. The Poznań Archaeological Museum carried out research on rock art in three countries – Algeria, Egypt and the Sudan. The research was initiated by the late Prof. Lech Krzyżaniak, for many years director of the Museum.

Lech Krzyżaniak began his work in Tassili-n-Ajjer in Algeria, which boasts one of the largest assemblages of rock paintings in Africa and the world. The oldest images date back to probably over 10 000 years, while the youngest were made in the modern era. The work carried out in the Sefar massif allowed documenting many amazing paintings, including the famous Great God, whose photographs can be seen at the exhibition.

In the mid-1980s Lech Krzyżaniak initiated explorations at the Dakleh Oasis in Egypt, which are continued to this day. The Poznań mission is working as part of the Dakhleh Oasis Project  – an international and interdisciplinary research team. The sites with rock art discovered by the Poles are rich in prehistoric engravings as well as Dynastic and later Arabic images. Neolithic representations of women, unique in the Saharan art,  are of particular interest and might be connected with fertility cults.

The third area of rock art study was the region of the 4th Nile Cataract in the Sudan. The research conducted in the 21st century resulted in documentation of numerous sites with petroglyphs and led to the  ownership of the boulders carrying the engravings. This provided yet another motive for arranging the exhibition. The artefacts, presented by the Sudan as a token of thanks to Polish scholars for their part in the 4th Cataract rescue operations, mainly include scenes related to pastoral activities. They may date back to the 4th millennium B.C.

Thanks to the assistance of many scientific institutions engaged in the study of eastern Saharan rock art, the present exhibition shows images discovered at other sites, in particular the Nile Valley. Apart from the exposed objects, the public can enjoy multimedia installations with their contents adapted both for adults and children. The younger public can admire a boulder which has been deliberately covered with animal images. The youngest, using carbon paper and graphite, can savour the work of a rock art explorer.

The exhibition has replaced the exposition “The Dachla Oasis Rock Art. Western Desert”, open in 2003-2010.