Born in 1932, Patricia (‘Pat’) Vinnicombe began copying Bushman rock paintings while growing up on a farm in southern Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains.

Although trained as an occupational therapist, Pat’s expertise in developing and perfecting rock art tracing techniques led to a grant to survey and record all the paintings in the Drakensberg.

She may not have gotten all of them, but recording 8,478 images is still pretty impressive!

Pat published her finds between 1967 and 1972 and proposed a new paradigm for understanding southern African rock art, combining San ethnography, imagery, and quantitative analysis.

She was awarded a doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge for her work and her theories form the foundations of southern African rock art research today. Although she retired in 1997, Pat continued working in Australia and South Africa until her death in 2003.

Written by Rachel King (@rachelsusanking)

Edited by Tori

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