Follow our digital journey across Africa
Discover 30,000 years of rock art
In 2013, the African rock art image project team began cataloguing around 25,000 digital photographs of rock art from across Africa – originally from the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) – through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.
Africa’s rock art is as diverse as the continent itself. By combining a wide range of research from the Museum, TARA and colleagues in Africa, this project will catalogue, preserve and ensure open access to African rock art, for future generations worldwide.
On these pages, you can explore the images catalogued so far by country and learn more about them through a series of articles.
You can also find answers to some key questions about African rock art:
Camels have not always been part of Saharan life: their appearance in rock art reflects their introduction from the Middle East and the central role they came to play in desert societies.
Depictions of fish are found in the rock art of Libya, Algeria and Morocco, reflecting a period when the Sahara was much wetter and fishing was a major part of Saharan culture.
Several sites recently catalogued in the Fezzan region of the Libyan Desert have included paintings of chariots in a variety of forms, from up to 3,000 years ago.
The significance of hair in African societies is reflected in a fascinating set of images from the Acacus Mountains in south-western Libya
Jebel Uweinat – one of Sudan’s most important areas for rock art – is dominated by images of cattle, but also includes depictions of humans and other animals.
These engravings are highly skilled depictions of cattle that seem to be bending their heads to drink, and also to have tears rolling down their faces.
Oukaïmeden is home to one of the most impressive collections of rock art engravings in Morocco, with about 1,000 depictions throughout this alpine-like valley.
Deep in the Messak Settafet is a site that has intrigued researchers for decades: the so-called ‘Fighting Cats’ scene.
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