Saharan Peoples Create Rock Art (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Some of the oldest African art, Saharan rock art provides visual evidence of the early environmental and cultural events that shaped this area’s history.
Summary of Event
The Sahara offers some of the oldest examples of African art. Dating perhaps to the tenth millennium b.c.e., rock art is found across the vast stretch of northern Africa from the Nile Valley to sites near the Atlantic Ocean; from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains to the southern foothills of the Ennedi highlands in present-day Chad. Major sites in the central Sahara include Tassili n’ Ajjer, Fezzan, Tibesti, Adrar des Iforas, and Hoggar. These artworks form a visual record of events that shaped the area’s history.
Rock art includes petroglyphs (engravings or carvings) and pictographs (paintings and drawings). Petroglyphs were gouged into the rock with stone tools and abrasives. Pictographs were executed by outline or flat wash using earthen-based pigments to create colors of black, red, brown, and white. Such paintings were created on walls of shallow rock shelters; engravings were produced both in rock shelters and on exposed rock surfaces.
Over hundreds of millennia, the climate of the Sahara gradually fluctuated between arid and wet periods. During such a wet period about 10,000 b.c.e., humans appeared in the area. Then a vast savannah, the Sahara supported cultural development for the next seven thousand...
(The entire section is 1615 words.)
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