Did Ancient Man Employ Bees To Ward Off Elephants 9000 Years Ago?
I enjoy proposing theories that the ancients already knew much
of the beekeeping knowledge that is said to be discovered in
modern times, and I do propose the knowledge of using bees to
ward off crop raiding elephants to also be ancient knowledge.
Here is a excerpt of an old article I wrote some time ago:
An important discovery was made in 2002, when it was observed
that the African Savannah Elephant seemed to be afraid of honeybees.
It was observed that elephants specifically will not feed on acacia trees
which often contain beehives. Due to this finding, a study was led by
British Biologist, Lucy King of the University of Oxford and the charity
Save the Elephants, a two year pilot in Kenya in 2008 followed testing
the use of bees to ward of raiding elephants.
An interesting rock painting dating to 9,000 BCE with a theme of bees
and elephant is located in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal (see link below).
The official description of this rock painting:
Elephant surrounded by crosses representing bees. In rock art, one sees
depictions of nested U-shapes with bees. Bushman shamans interpreted
this particular shape as a honeycomb because bees are a Bushman symbol
of potency. In the Kalahari, Bushmen dance when bees are swarming
because they believe that they can harness their potency for a particularly
In my eyes, I do not see what the experts describe. I see a depiction
of ancients employing bees to ward off a raiding elephant. Archaeologists
have previously deciphered this drawing as depicting an “elephant with bees,
and two bags“, -but there are other items of interest in the drawing which
need to be analyzed.
See This drawing:
In my eyes, the drawing depicts people in the back ground, who are either
spectators or participants to what is taking place. There is also a figure of
a man standing in front of the elephant with his right arm raised, -as if in
a throwing motion. Directly behind this man are lines, which may resemble
wheat stocks or some type of crop that the man appears to be warding the
elephant away from.
The rock art is dated to approximately 9,000 BCE, -well within the age of
early agriculture. The two items which were previously described by
archeologists as bags may be meant to depict baskets containing bees.
In support of this theory, I refer to the honey hunters of Nepal and other
tribes who gather honey as their ancestors have thousands of years ago,
who routinely use baskets as the preferred method of colleting and holding
bees nests and honey comb. The baskets of these honey gathers often had
long poles affixed to the handle in order to direct the basket under the nest.
It is interesting to note that one of these baskets in the drawing is depicted
with two poles attached, which might possibly be throwing sticks to aid in
the propulsion of the bee hive baskets. It is also clear that bees appear to
be flying out of the other basket, indicating that the baskets did contain bees.
In my opinion, the drawing depicts a man tossing two baskets containing
bees nests at a crop raiding elephant. I believe the line connected to the
tail of the elephant is intended to depict the elephants movement, -turning,
and moving away from the bees. The interpretation of all the items depicted
in this drawing provides powerful evidence in support of the theory that ancient
people may have employed bees to ward off raiding elephants. It is interesting
to speculate that this drawing may have been used as a teaching tool, -an ancient
manual, illustrating the procedure of how to employ bees to ward off
That's my interpretation of the drawing.