• Contact Information

    • Name:

      Rock Art Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand
    • Postal Address:

      Private Bag 3
      Wits 2050 Johannesburg
      South Africa
    • Location:

      Van Riet Lowe Building, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein
    • Telephone:

      +27 11 717 6056
    • Facsimile:

      +27 11 339 1620
    • E-mail:
    • URL:
    • Director:

      Dr Benjamin Smith
    • Year founded:

  • Collections

    • Type of repository:

    • Types of source material:

      Archival records
      Electronic archives
      Oral histories
      Personal papers
      Sound recordings
    • Size:

      The RARI collections are large (probably the largest in the world of this kind, rock art), containing tens of thousands of different kinds of rock art copies, photographs, actual rocks with images on them, documentation, and research.
    • Holdings:

      The Rock Art Research Institute holds collections that can be divided into two: I.) Working collections and II.) Archival collections. The first comprises field rock art tracings and laboratory redrawings (black Indian Ink renderings on drafting film paper) and colour photographic slides (35 mm and 120 mm). Tracings and redrawings from South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and the USA. As for photographs, there are nearly 70 000 slides of sites in Southern, Central and Eastern Africa, USA and Europe. The second group comprises rock art (rock paintings and engravings) copies of different kinds (some of which are of exceptional quality and are priceless) from previous and historical research in southern Africa, historical photographic material, manuscripts, academic and personal correspondence etc. The historical renderings of rock art are by different scholars, many world-renowned, including the famous French prehistorian the Abbé Henri Breuil, put together, there are no less than 3000 copies. Under the archival collections is another class, actual paintings and engravings that were removed from their original contexts from the 1930s to the 1950s. This is a huge collection comprising of stones ranging in weight (size) from as small as 2kg to 8 tons a piece (NB removing actual rock art pieces in this manner is no longer acceptable. It only occurs under very special circumstances such as dam and road construction.)

    • Receiving new material?

    • Languages:

      English, Afrikaans
  • Access Conditions

    • Access conditions:

      Open to public by appointment

    • Finding tools:

      Accession lists or registers
      Electronic catalogs
    • Copier available?:

  • Repository publications:

  • References:

    <a href="text\RARIlist.html">List of books, articles and papers on rock art displays in South African museums (RARI, n.d.)</a>