Documenting the Rock Art of Dolwe Island, Lake Victoria (Uganda)

Dolwe Island is a beautiful, little-known island in the north east (Ugandan) waters of Lake Victoria, about two hours in a motor boat from the mainland. Only about 50 square kilometres in extent, this island has many important archeology features which speak of a rich and as yet unknown past stretching back thousands of years. This project is a collaboration between TARA, the Uganda Museum and the Prince Claus Fund of Amsterdam.

The main goals of the project are to document as many new and existing sites as possible and to create an awareness locally, as well as nationally, of the importance, diversity and frailty of this art as well as the probable antiquity of the heritage. TARA first visited the island about 20 years ago and began recording its paintings and engravings. The island is covered in remarkable granite outcrops and perhaps the biggest area archeological mystery here is the existence of an estimated 20,000 carved/ground hollows in the granite, each roughly 15 cms deep and 40 cms long which occur in large groups, often closely packed together.

Given the fact that just creating one of these hollows using stone tools might have taken months and months to do over what time period were all these hollows made, and for what purpose, and who made them? The most important painting site was first recorded in the 1960s by archeologist Merrick Posnanski, Curator of the Uganda Museum, and has already been damaged by serious graffiti, emphasising the need for awareness. The following images give an idea of some of the features and sites recorded.

Dolwe Island

Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island
Dolwe Island

Comments

  1. This is truly spectacular – and looking at the braided image, it reminds me that humans haven’t changed so much over thousands of years .. I will often find myself sketching similar images in paper during a sunny day.

  2. Lavanya Naguran says:

    It’s a amazing work of art.
    It’s very beautiful and it does brings out the attraction of this art work.

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