A reappraisal of Walter Battiss’s relative sequence for rock paintings in the Stormberg, Eastern Cape
Keywords:Walter Battiss, Rock art, Stormberg, Painted sequence, Relative chronology
New fieldwork around the Stormberg provided an opportunity to reassess a relative sequence that the well-known South African artist Walter Battiss proposed for rock paintings in the north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape Province. The new and independent empirical observations are similar to those of Battiss. His sequence is particularly notable for its attention to the differences in painting technique, colour palette and subject matter between the shaded polychrome and more recent unshaded phases of rock painting. Much research has consistently, if sometimes tacitly, underscored these elements as robust and relevant to changes in the art during the precolonial contact period. The new fieldwork emphasises the value of Battiss’s proposed sequence and its implications for rock paintings in the wider Maloti- Drakensberg region. His sequence has a previously underappreciated role to play both in the history of South African rock art research and in the understanding of painted sequences.