STB Rock Art




Documenting rock art as authentically as possible meant using only the tools and materials that would have been available to early cave artists. In a nutshell, I want to show what cave artists might have used to create their art. With the absence of a comprehensive written record of the processes they employed, I explored a type of experimental archaeology. This required me to think as these early artists would have thought. I discarded the tools I was using like pocket knives, spatulas, plastic and metal containers and commercially available brushes and used only materials I could find in the field.

Stephen Townley Bassett was born in Cape Town. He completed his secondary education at Rondebosch Boys’ High School and graduated from UCT with a Bachelor of Social Science degree. In 1988 Stephen gave up his full time career in the corporate world to pursue his fascination for rock art and painting.

Today he is a specialist in the field of Southern African rock paintings. He has dedicated his life to examining the technology behind the paintings and the accurate full colour documentation of the art as well as research into pigments, paints and implements used by the early hunter-gatherers of the region.
Stephen has had the good fortune of working with French and South African scientists on the composition of paint as well as with archaeologists and anthropologists on the life ways of the people who created the art.

Stephen has authored three books on Rock Art in South Africa. He has been featured in film documentaries about rock art on SATV, BBC and CNN as well as the publications, Africa Geographic, and the USA outdoor magazine, “Feathers and Whiskey”.

His work is featured in the book, “Sea Change”, by Craig Foster. The book accompanied the Oscar award winning documentary film, “My Octopus Teacher”.



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