South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
HUNEAU, F.; HRLE, S.; DENIS, A. and SALOMON, A.. First use of geological radar to assess the conservation condition of a South African rock art site: Game Pass Shelter (KwaZulu-Natal). S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2008, vol.104, n.7-8, pp.251-254. ISSN 1996-7489.
WE PRESENT THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY of the main panels of Game Pass Shelter, a major painted rock art site in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg mountain range, using ground penetrating radar. The investigation depth in the Clarens Formation sandstones lies between four and 80 cm, adequate to determine whether the rock wall presents any potentially unstable discontinuities. By identifying such areas and determining the depth of alteration zones at the major discontinuities, the radar helps in the precision mapping of the state of conservation of the rock art panels. The best results are obtained when discontinuities consist of thin clayey layers and are saturated with infiltrating water or are open widely. The radar analysis demonstrated the major role of the thin clayey sedimentary joints as potential source of instability and damage to the art. Thus, non-destructive and technically simple ground penetrating radar is especially useful for the investigation of the stability of rock art sites.