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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4467 times)
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« on: August 10, 2008, 08:32:20 am »

The combination of familiar Saharan subjects and local stylistic innovation is also apparent at the
previously recorded sites of Erqeiz and Irghayra (Soler et al, 1999) and the newly identified site of Bou
Dheir (Brooks et al, 2003).

These sites are all located along elevated areas overlooking wide plains, in contrast to Sluguilla, and are associated with paintings rather than carvings. Erqeiz and Bou Dheir arenotable for their representations of large wild fauna, familiar from the central Sahara in the form of engravings
(Dupuy, 1999, Jelínek, 2000; Phillipson, 1993).

At Rekeiz an elephant and rhinoceros are depicted on the same vertical rock face in a location some distance from the main concentrations of paintings, while an elephant and a buffalo are recorded at Bou Dheir in close proximity to representations of human figures, hand prints, cattle, gazelle and a large painting that may be a wild or domesticated ovicaprid.

Giraffe are represented in paintings at Bou Dheir and Rekeiz, and in engravings at Sluguilla,indicating that they occupied an important role in the lives of the prehistoric peoples of the region, as they
did throughout the Sahara
(Dupuy, 1999; van Hoek, 2003).

Cattle feature prominently in the rock art of the Northern Sector, particularly at Erqueiz. They are also
represented at Bou Dheir, in a particularly distinctive painted style. A remarkable isolated engraving of a
cow with a smaller animal depicted inside the stomach, presumably an infant or unborn calf, was recordedon a rock at the edge of a plateau on which were located a number of funerary monuments, includingplatform and corbeille structures (Figure 4).

These images illustrate that cattle were crucial to the lives of the prehistoric peoples of Western Sahara, as they were throughout the Sahara
(e.g. Di Lernia and Palombini, 2002; Holl and Dueppen, 1999).

Ovicaprids are also a common theme in the rock paintings of the study area, although it is difficult to determine whether these images represent domestic or wild animals.

At Rekeiz and Irghrayra sheep or goats are depicted in long lines consisting of many animals. The
dominant painted panel at Bou Dheir is centred on a large image of an animal of uncertain type, possibly anovicaprid or a wild herbivore, but clearly of great significance to the artist or artists (Figure 5).
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