Tassili n'Ajjer National Park in Algeria
Located in a strange lunar landscape of great geological interest, this site has one of the most important groupings of prehistoric cave art in the world.
More than 15,000 drawings and engravings record the climatic changes, the animal migrations and the evolution of human life on the edge of the Sahara from 6000 BC to the first centuries of the present era. The geological formations are of outstanding scenic interest, with eroded sandstones forming ‘forests of rock’.
Tassili n'Ajjer is a vast plateau in south-east Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger and Mali, covering an area of 72,000 sq. km. The exceptional density of paintings and engravings, and the presence of many prehistoric vestiges, are remarkable testimonies to Prehistory.
From 10,000 BC to the first centuries of our era, successive peoples left many archaeological remains, habitations, burial mounds and enclosures which have yielded abundant lithic and ceramic material. However, it is the rock art (engravings and paintings) that have made Tassili world famous as from 1933, the date of its discovery. 15,000 engravings have been identified to date.
The unique rock formations and networks of steep-sided valleys of the plateau are a result of the alternation of wet and dry periods. At the end of the Upper Pleistocene, for example, there were huge lakes in the region, in what are today the great Ergs. The lakes were fed by rivers flowing down the Tassili, and dry river beds remain from this period. The action of the rivers on the surface of the plateau formed deep gorges and separate plateaux.
The plants and animals found on the plateau bear witness to former wetter periods. Relict species surviving in wet microclimates include fish and shrimp and, until the 1940s, a dwarf Saharan crocodile, many thousands of kilometres from the nearest population in Egypt. #tassilinajjer #nationalpark #algeria #africa #prehistoric #art #caves #engraving #rocks #ancient