Camouflaged chameleons: a new discovery at the Egyptian site of el-Hosh

Representations of reptiles are relatively rare in Egyptian rock art. Here, we present a petroglyph found at the site of elHosh that closely resembles a chameleon, a morphologically distinct type of lizard. In evaluating the image, we provide a comprehensive review of the limited evidence for chameleons in other Egyptian graphical depictions and texts, revealing previously unrecognised examples found in New Kingdom tomb decorations. We conclude that the el-Hosh creature was likely executed during the Dynastic period or later, and was inspired by the observation of a chameleon, the precise species of which cannot be determined.

Last Updated
March 8, 2021