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

Linda Evans*, Fred Hardtke, Emily Corbin, Wouter Claes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Representations of reptiles are relatively rare in Egyptian rock art. Here, we present a petroglyph found at the site of el-Hosh 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Animal imagery
  • Chameleons
  • el-Hosh
  • Pharaonic Egypt
  • Rock art


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