Rock Art Heritage Management in Southern Africa

Second workshop in the
RAHMSA Training Workshop Series

27th November – 3rd December 2024
Musée national de Préhistoire, France

Applications are closed

What is RAHMSA

RAHMSA seeks to combine the efforts of researchers from five countries (Botswana, France, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe) who study the issues raised by rock art heritage management in Southern Africa. There, aspects of the nearly universally implemented values-based heritage management doctrine are challenged, like in other parts of the world where culture and population diversity produce intermingling and sometimes conflicting sets of values. Although recent initiatives seek to address diversity in rock art management, they stumble across the difficulty to grasp multi-faceted, contextual, conflicting and constantly changing values and the absence of a strong holistic and integrated methodological framework to achieve it. RAHMSA proposes to address this methodological lack by joining the expertise and comparing the points of views and practices of researchers and heritage practitioners from diverse backgrounds to identify cross-cultural and interacting interest points, according to a cosmopolitan approach.

For this RAHMSA will benefit from and expand on an existing research project funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR): COSMO-ART. This programme proposes indeed the cosmopolitan approach as a tool to resolve the mentioned challenges facing rock art heritage management and thus better fulfil requirements of sustainability by reconciling various perceptions of rock art heritage and development policies. While COSMO-ART targets research actions in South Africa and Namibia, RAHMSA aims to improve the regional structuring of research on the preservation, presentation and tourism development of rock art sites in Southern Africa, and to encourage the practical application of results from COSMO-ART by including two other southern Africa countries, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

To achieve this RAHMSA plans the organsiation of 5 training workshops, one in each partner country, and associated public events, such as conference cycles, panel discussions and exhibitions.

Who is part of RAHMSA

Botswana National Museum

As a government department, Botswana National Museum is mandated to protect, preserve and promote Botswana’s cultural and natural heritage for sustainable utilisation thereof by collecting, researching, conserving and exhibiting for public education and appreciation. Team members are heavily involved in the monitoring and valorisation of the Tsodilo Hills site, a major rock art site on the World Heritage List. The museum will be more specifically involved in Workshop 4 “Guided tours and tourist experience” (Botswana, 2026).

People involved:

  • M. Lebonetse (rock art)
  • S. Mogotsi (archaeology)
  • Ph. Segadika (archaeology)
  • W. Thebele (anthropology)

Éco-anthropologie UMR 7206, France

At the Musée de l’Homme, Éco-anthropologie develops interdisciplinary research on humans (individuals or societies) and their interactions with their environment. The research laboratory offers original insights by studying how humans perceive and act on their environment and shape cultures, and how environments and cultures shape human biology, particularly over time through our evolution. Within the laboratory, one avenue of research focuses on the analysis of the social values at stake in the normalisation of society-environment relations and it is for this reason that members of the Éco-anthropologie are doubly involved in COSMO-ART and in RAHMSA. Éco-anthropologie will jointly organise Workshop 3 “Integrating uses and perceptions: communities and stakeholders’ points of view” (South Africa, 2025).

People involved:

  • L. Baracchini (Post doc EA/EDYTEM)
  • N. Belaïdi (anthropology of law)

EDYTEM UMR 5204, France

EDYTEM is a multidisciplinary research unit affiliated to the French National Centre or Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University Savoie Mont Blanc (USMB). It brings together researchers in geosciences (geology, hydrogeology, geomorphology), humanities and social sciences (geography, sociology, economics sciences) and the environmental and green chemistry with the aim of solving environmental and societal problems through an interdisciplinary vision of mountain areas challenges. RAHMSA is coordinated by M. Duval, a researcher involved in the « Resources and Heritage » and « Integrated approach to rock art » topics, whose research aims to understand in a holistic and integrated manner the issues associated with the development of tourism on rock art sites by developing an analytical framework that integrates the contributions of material sciences, archaeology, social anthropology and geography. EDYTEM is also the coordinator of COSMO-ART. EDYTEM will contribute to the organisation of Workshop 4 “Guided tours and tourist experience” (Botswana, 2026) and Workshop 5 “Tourism in remote areas” (Zimbabwe, 2027).

People involved:

  • L. Baracchini (anthropology, post doc EA/EDYTEM)
  • É. Chalmin (physico-chemistry)
  • C. Defrasne (archaeology)
  • J.-J. Delannoy (anthropo-geomorphology)
  • M. Duval (human geography)
  • Ch. Gauchon (human geography)
  • J. Monney (anthropo-archaeology)
  • H. Quemin (human geography, PhD EDYTEM/EA)

HNHP UMR 7194, France

Between human and social sciences and earth and life sciences, HNHP is characterised by a naturalistic approach to prehistory over a long period of time, from the appearance of the first tools. Multidisciplinary – archaeologists, for the most part palaeolithicists, anthropologists, archaeozoologists, palaeobotanists, palaeontologists, quaternary geologists, geographers, archaeometers and geochronologists – and relying on high-performance technical platforms, it favours a global, patrimonial and comparative approach to the sites studied in many regions of the world, from South-East Asia to Europe, as well as in Africa and South America. With collaborations initiated since 2008 in the Erongo Mountains (Namibia) HNHP is a decisive partner in advancing the issues of training in archaeological science in Namibia and is also part of COSMO-ART. It will also contribute its expertise in museology and exhibition preparation. HNHP will jointly organise Workshop 1 “Documenting rock art sites” ( Namibia, 2023).

People involved:

  • A. Nivart (museology)
  • D. Pleurdeau (archaeology)

Musée national de Préhistoire, France

The National Museum of Prehistory (MNP) is a department from the French Ministry of Culture with a national remit. It is both a reference museum for World Prehistory and a museum that preserves the nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites « Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley », including several decorated caves. MNP not only curates archaeological artefacts and samples, but also fragments of rock art. The mission statement of the museum relate both to conservation (physical and link between site, remains and data), presentation to the public and access to research. This potential of the collections and the experience acquired by the institution in terms of construction of discourse, narratives, enhancement, conservation and the links to be created between rock art and its archaeology will contribute to the project both in terms of conservation and public outreach. MNP will jointly coordinate Workshop 2 “Presenting rock art” that will be held in the Musée national de Préhistoire (France, 2024).

People involved:

  • C. Cretin (archaeology & museology)
  • N. Fourment (archaeology & museology)

PACEA UMR 5199, France

PACEA is a joint research unit affiliated to the CNRS (Ecology and Environment Institute), the University of Bordeaux (Department of Archaeological Sciences) and the Ministry of Culture. The research carried out at PACEA focuses on the evolutionary, cultural and symbolic history of past populations in relation to environmental changes from the origin of the genus Homo to very recent periods. This broad theme is supported by a wide range of specialists including: archaeologists, bioarchaeologists, funerary archaeologists, palaeoanthropologists, palaeopathologists, prehistorians, rock art specialists, archaeozoologists, palaeogeneticists and geoarchaeologists. PACEA is also part of COSMO-Art and will jointly coordinate Workshop 2 “Presenting rock art” (France, 2024).

People involved:

  • C. Cretin (archaeology & museology)
  • S. Hœrlé (materials science & conservation of rock art)

TRACES UMR 5608, France

TRACES is one of the most important French and European archaeological research and training centres. Among other themes, the study of prehistoric art – Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies in Europe and Africa – is a central research avenue of the laboratory. TRACES has also become a reference centre on the archaeology of ancient Africa, bringing together some thirty researchers and doctoral students working from prehistoric times to the historical periods of this continent. Among the research areas and topics, the peopling and cultural dynamics of Southern Africa over the past millennia has become an area of expertise. Developed over the past ten years, this topic has already led to active collaborations between TRACES and Southern African partners, whether in the form of scientific works (Khoïsan Archives, MATOBART program, Hominins in Botswana, COSMO-ART), academic training (Lithic workshops, rock art and excavation field schools) or scientific meetings (SAFA sessions in 2014 and 2016). TRACES will be involved in the organisation of Workshop 1 “Documenting rock art sites” (Namibia, 2023).

People involved:

  • C. Bourdier (rock art)
  • L. Bruxelles (geoarchaeology)

University of Namibia

The Department of Humanities and Arts at the University of Namibia trains professional academic historians and students aiming to pursue careers in Museum and Heritage Studies, Tourism or Archaeology. At present, archaeology and heritage sciences are taught in the more general history curriculum. One of the objectives of the IRN is to reinforce their training with their participation in field seminars, which are currently underdeveloped. The University of Namibia will contribute to the organisation of Workshop 1 “Documenting rock art sites” (Namibia, 2023).

People involved:

  • M. Akawa-Shikufa (archaeology)
  • E. Haitengi (archaeology & heritage studies)

University of Sol Plaatje, South Africa

Sol Plaatje University (Kimberley, Northern Cape) is one of two South African universities created in the democratic era. Within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Heritage Studies offers courses up to Bachelor’s level and since January 2022, a first year Master’s degree has been opened to teaching. This course provides students with a theoretical and practical grounding of knowledge and skills about the heritage sector. Sol Plaatje University is also part of COSMO-ART and will jointly coordinate the organisation of Workshop 3 “Integrating uses and perceptions: communities and stakeholders’ points of view” (South Africa, 2025) and Workshop 5 “Tourism in remote areas” (Zimbabwe, 2027).

People involved:

  • D. Morris (rock art & archaeology)
  • L. Pinto (rock art & heritage studies)
  • G. Pwiti (heritage studies)

University of Zimbabwe

Within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and more specifically in the Department of History Heritage and Knowledge Systems, archaeology is taught at both bachelor and master levels. At the end of their training, students are specialised in heritage sciences, including analysis and valorisation issues. The University of Zimbabwe will be involved in the organisation of Workshop 5 “Tourism in remote areas” (Zimbabwe, 2027).

People involved:

  • A. Nhamo (rock art & heritage studies)

What is RAHMSA doing

RAHMSA is organised in working Groups: three Thematic Working Groups and a Transverse Working Group. Their aim is to encourage discussions and debates between partners on three main themes that are considered of special interest to address the methodological lacks identified in the ways diversity is included within rock art management strategies:
1/ Documenting and recording rock art sites;
2/ Uses and values attributed to rock art sites;
3/ Tourist development and public presentation.
Each Thematic Working Groups gathers partners whose research interests more specially focus on one of the 3 themes. The Transverse Working Group addresses issues that intersect these three themes and involves the entire team.

The main actions of RAHMSA are
1/ the organisation of 5 workshops, in an intermediary form between thematic schools for training and skill building and round tables for scientific debates;
2/ the design and publication of practical guidebooks on the themes of the 5 workshops, with the aim of promoting the application of a cosmopolitan approach to address issues of preservation, promotion and development of rock art sites.

There will be 3 workshops for each Thematic Working Group and 2 workshops on subjects related to the issues addressed within the Transverse Working Group. The workshops will be open to
1/ RAHMSA partners and other researchers or heritage practitioners who expertise would be an asset for the scientific debates and the training provided during the workshops or who could benefit from it;
2/ students as well community and institutional stakeholders to promote skill building.

In addition, such workshops will be the opportunity to organise conference directed to the general public, with the support of cultural institutions in the partner countries (Alliance Française network, Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre, French Institute in South Africa, McGregor Museum, Zimbabwe Museum of Natural Sciences, etc.).

Training Workshop Series

27th November – 3rd December 2024
Musée national de Préhistoire, France

The workshop aims to share experiences of presenting sites and to assess the diversity of perception, uses and practices. It is directed towards graduate and postdoctoral students, museum staff and heritage practitioners, primarily from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The workshop will include sites and museums visits, lectures and group work. Working groups will be asked to reflect on the proposed themes, drawing on the participants’ own experience, on the workshop visits and conferences. All participants will be invited to put their experiences into perspective and reflect on the issues related to mediation actions in a restitution and a final collective discussion.

The training sessions will include (subject to changes):

  • Sites and museums visits;
  • Individual exercises of presentation of a site, museum or a heritage institution of its country of origin;
  • Group work on the following predefined topics:
    – the relationship to authenticity,
    – taking into account the public (ages, cultures, disabilities),
    – taking into account the protection and conservation of rock art and its place in the discourse,
    – the visit experience and the critical approach to mediation,
    – the content of discourses and the balance between particular and universality,
    – the part of sensitivity and delight in the visit,
    – economic realities (investment, sustainability, benefits, etc.)
  • Preparation of a final report or a joint summary (web page, activity report) for dissemination.


Organised by

  • Musée national de Préhistoire, France
  • PACEA UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, France
  • EDYTEM UMR 5204, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, France

Organising Committee

  • Catherine Cretin (Musée national de Préhistoire, Ministry of Culture & PACEA-UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, France)
  • Mélanie Duval (EDYTEM-UMR 5204, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, France)
  • Nathalie Fourment (Musée national de Préhistoire, Ministry of Culture & PACEA-UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, France)
  • Stéphane Hœrlé (PACEA-UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, France)

Scientific Committee

  • Amanda Esterhuysen (Origins Centre, South Africa)
  • Oscar Fuentes (Centre National de Préhistoire, France)
  • Jean-Michel Geneste (Ministry of Culture, France)
  • Erica Ndalikokule (National Heritage Council, Namibia)
  • Ancila Nhamo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
  • Phillip Segadika (Botswana National Museum, Botswana)


Musée national de Préhistoire (Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, France). At the same time a place of memory for prehistory, a museum for objects, a centre for studies and a place for the diffusion of constantly-evolving knowledge, the National Prehistory Museum has been a place of reference for prehistorians as well as for visitors since its creation at the beginning of the 20th century. Located in the immediate vicinity of major cave art sites registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, Combarelles…), the museum houses exceptional collections spanning more than 400 millennia of human presence.


The workshop is aimed at:

  • Postgraduate students in archaeology, museology, heritage science, rock art, etc.
  • Researchers in archaeology, museology, heritage science, rock art, etc.
  • Museum staff
  • Heritage agency officers

Costs for the attendees

For successful applicants there will be no fee to attend the workshop and food and accommodation will be provided for the duration of the workshop.

Since food and accommodation will be provided, attendees will not be paid daily allowances.

Transport from Mérignac Airport (Bordeaux) and back to it will also be arranged (free of charge) for all attendees.

A limited number of grants are available to contribute to the travel costs of those attending the workshop. Should you require such a grant, please motivate (and provide an estimate of the costs) when applying.


Shared accommodation and full catering for the duration of the workshop will be arranged.

Invited Lecturers (preliminary list)

  • Ndapewoshali Ashipala (Museums Association of Namibia, Namibia)
  • Amanda Esterhuysen (Origin Centre, South Africa)
  • Jean-Michel Geneste (Ministry of Culture, France)
  • Ancila Nhamo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
  • Oscar Fuentes (Centre National de Préhistoire, France)
  • Gilbert Pwiti (Sol Plaatje University, South Africa)
  • Philip Segadika (National Museum, Botswana)


Email to anr.cosmo.art@gmail.com:

  • a brief CV with full contact details including an email address;
  • a one-page letter explaining why the workshop will be useful for your work/research;
  • (when applicable) a letter of support from your current employer;

Deadline: 1st April 2024

Provisional programme

Download it here

31st August – 7th September 2023
Erongo Mountains, Namibia

The training workshop aimed to spread advanced skills in the documenting of rock art sites and foster regional networking between the attendees. It was directed to graduate students and post-docs, museum staff and heritage practitioners, mainly from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The course comprised lectures, discussions and practical exercises. It provided an introduction to documenting techniques and their applications to study, conserve and manage rock art sites. The teaching by Southern African and French specialists was both theoretical and practical, with fieldwork in nearby rock art sites. The course focused on practical examples to illustrate real issues that archaeologists and heritage practitioners face and the methods and techniques to tackle these problems.


Organised by

  • EDYTEM UMR 5204, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, France
  • Namibian Heritage Council, Namibia
  • National Museum of Namibia, Namibia
  • PACEA UMR 5199, Université de Bordeaux, France
  • TRACES UMR 5608, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France
  • University of Namibia, Namibia

Organising Committee

  • Camille Bourdier (TRACES-UMR 5608, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France)
  • Mélanie Duval (EDYTEM-UMR 5204, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, France)
  • Stéphane Hœrlé (PACEA-UMR 5199,Université de Bordeaux, France)

Scientific Committee

  • Alma Nankela (RCHeritage Services, Namibia)
  • Ancila Nhamo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)
  • Jean-Loïc Le Quellec (Institut des mondes africains, France)
  • Lourenço Pinto (Sol Plaatje University, South Africa)
  • Phillip Segadika (Botswana National Museum, Botswana)


Omandumba Farm (Erongo, Namibia). The place was selected for the workshop because there are many rock art sites on the farm and in the immediate vicinity, some of which are well-known and have been visited and studied by archaeologists for almost a century. In the area there are also several excavated archaeological sites that yielded findings which vastly contributed to a better knowledge of hunter-gatherers and herders of the Later Stone Age in Namibia. Practical exercises during the workshop took place at several selected rock sites on Omandumba Farm, and excursions to nearby sites were organised.

Accommodation and full catering for the duration of the workshop were arranged at the camping site on the farm. Transport from Windhoek and back to it were also arranged for all attendees. All of this free of charge.


The workshop is aimed at:

  • Archaeologists and rock art postgraduate students;
  • Archaeologists and rock art researchers;
  • Museum staff;
  • Heritage agency officers.

The organising committee received 55 applications from 9 countries (see table below) and selected 24 candidates to attend the workshop.

In the end the workshop gathered 20 attendees; 11 from Namibia, 4 from South Africa, 3 from Botswana and Zimbabwe, and 1 from France, Lesotho and Tanzania (with a gender ratio F/M of 15 to 5). Unfortunately, 4 students had to withdraw at the last moment and could not be replaced with candidates on the waiting list.

Costs for the students

Successful applicants attended the workshop for free. Food and accommodation were provided for the duration of the course. Subsidies for travel to and from the workshop venue were made available to students, should they successfully apply for a grant.

Since food and accommodation were provided, attendees were paid daily allowances.

The workshop took place from 31 August to 7 September 2023. A free shuttle was arranged between Windhoek and the Erongo. To benefit from it the attendees had to be in Windhoek on the morning of 31 August. It is strongly recommended that they arrived the day before and spent one night in Windhoek before travelling to the Erongo. To this end, the cost of this night was covered by IRN RAHMSA.


All the attendees camped at Omandumba Camping Site. Tents and mattresses were provided but attendees needed to bring their own sleeping bag. Tents were be shared (2 people) as much as possible.

A cook was hired. Dinners were at the camp while cold lunches were usually in the field, depending on the day programme.

Invited Lecturers

  • Alma Nankela (RCHeritage Services, Namibia)
  • Ancila Nhamo (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe) (who could not make it)
  • Andrew Botelle (MaMoKoBo Video & Research, Namibia)
  • Camille Bourdier (TRACES UMR 5608, University Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France)
  • Emma Haitengi (University of Namibia, Namibia)
  • Julien Monney (EDYTEM UMR 5204, University Savoie Mont Blanc, France)
  • Leïla Baracchini (San Research Centre, University of Botswana)
  • Lourenço Pinto (Sol Plaatje University, South Africa)
  • Mathe Lebonetse (Botswana National Museum, Botswana)
  • Stéphane Hœrlé (PACEA UMR 5199, University of Bordeaux, France)
  • Winani Thebele (Winza Heritage Logistics, Botswana)


Download it here

RAHMSA is funded by