Bleek and Lloyd’s contribution to the interpretation of San Rock Art

Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd composed one of the most comprehensive ethnographic accounts of the San of the late 1800s. Although they were not anthropologists, they conducted an extensive series of in-depth interviews with Ixam San. They conducted these interviews with Ixam prisoners that worked on the Bleekā€™s farm. They also learnt and described the language of the Ixam.

These efforts culminated in some 13,000 notebook pages of illustrations, genealogies, maps and narratives. The University of Cape Town, the National Library and Iziko South African Museum house this collection. This collection is a national treasure and a United Nations Site of the Memory of the World.

These works have been used extensively to interpret the cultural manifestations of the San, such as their rock art.

Interpreting San Rock Art I Site Map