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Author Topic: THE SAHARA  (Read 4722 times)
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« on: August 10, 2008, 08:26:37 am »

Archaeological materials also indicate significant commonality with other Saharan regions. Acheulian
and Aterian materials, and a single trihedral point, indicate that the study area was occupied in the
Pleistocene, although the density of materials suggests that occupation may have been in the form of small, transient groups.

The density of burial sites indicates a much larger population in the Holocene, and Holocene microlithic material were also recorded.

In particular, funerary monuments representing a wide range of typologies reflect the material culture of
the central Sahara. Conical tumuli, platform burials and a V-type monument represent structures similar to those found in other Saharan regions and associated with human burials, appearing in sixth millennium BP onwards in northeast Niger and southwest Libya (Sivilli, 2002).

In the latter area a shift in emphasis from faunal to human burials, complete by the early fifth millennium BP, has been interpreted by Di Lernia and Manzi (2002) as being associated with a change in social organisation that occurred at a time of increasing aridity.

While further research is required in order to place the funerary monuments of Western Sahara in
their chronological context, we can postulate a similar process as a hypothesis to be tested, based on thehigh density of burial sites recorded in the 2002 survey.

A monument consisting of sixty five stelae was also of great interest; precise alignments north and east,
a division of the area covered into separate units, and a deliberate scattering of quartzite inside the
structure, are suggestive of an astronomical function associated with funerary rituals. Stelae are also
associated with a number of burial sites, again suggesting dual funerary and astronomical functions (Figure 2).

Further similarities with other Saharan regions are evident in the rock art recorded in the study area,
although local stylistic developments are also apparent. Carvings of wild fauna at the site of Sluguilla
resemble the Tazina style found in Algeria, Libya and Morocco (Pichler and Rodrigue, 2003), although
examples of elephant and rhinoceros in a naturalistic style reminiscent of engravings from the central
Sahara believed to date from the early Holocene are also present.

The situation at Sluguilla is unusual in that carvings are located on isolated, largely horizontal limestone slabs exposed to the elements (Figure 3).
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