Few travellers through the relentless expanse of the Karoo take in much beyond the band of tar stretching, arrow-straight, ahead of them through the endlessness. Carefully planned pit stops segment most long-distance journeys as though to limit exposure to this realm of colossal skies fringed with arid mountain reaches. Yet the ancient land hides a treasure trove of rock art: the scorched peaks at its southern edge contain countless overhangs and caves lavishly decorated with hand prints, animals and strange creatures û half-human, half-fish. In this title, archaeologist Renee Rust and photographer Jan van der Poll trace the relationship of San rock art to shamanistic rituals and to stories and legends that still circulate in the Little Karoo today, tales of mythical beings û the watermeide, or water maidens û who are said to dwell in the springs and isolated watercourses that nourish this semi-arid region. In so doing, they document a unique and irreplaceable piece of living heritage. Through them, the rock begins to breathe and the ancient pictograms reach out to us across the ages.