- Museum number
Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art on a rock boulder (sandstone), showing landscape, David Coulson, Kathy Devlin and Mark Pupilli. The engraving shows the outlined (polished) figure of an elephant upright facing right. Eye defined by circle with small cupule inside, trunk curled towards the mouth filled with grooves representing creases. Behind elephant and under tail, three circular and one oval shapes divided in two by vertical line (faeces). Vertical crack through left side of elephant. Bubalus period. Right to the boulder, Kathy Devlin and Mark Pupilli laser-scanning the engraving. Left to the boulder, David Coulson. Wadi Beddis, Libya.
- Production date
01 March 2008 (date digitized)
November 2000 (original photograph)
File size: 57.40 megabytes
Resolution: 300 dots per inch
- Curator's comments
- The photograph shows the process of laser-scanning one of the best examples of engraved elephants in the Wadi Beddis. The laser-scanning was made in 2008, by a TARA team in collaboration with David Walton, an archaeologist and Kathy Devlin and Mark Pupilli, from Goldsmith University. Throughout the elephant’s figure can be appreciated the white points required by the laser scan.
Wadi Beddis (or Geddis) Isar, located at the northern Messak Plateau (Messak Settafet), is one of the many dry riverbeds that run east into the Murzuq erg in southwest Libya, near the borders between Algeria and Niger. The Messak, which runs southwest-northeast through the Libyan province of Fezzan, is divided in two by the Tilemsin pass, which defines two smaller plateaus (Settafet to the north and Mellet to the south). Although located to the north of the main area of engravings around the wadis Tilizaghen and Mathendous, its rock art engravings share similar features, including the distribution of depictions on vertical rocks along the wadi and the styles documented within it, mostly Bubalus, Pastoral, Tazina, Horse and Camel periods. Depictions include buffaloes, elephants, ostriches, rhinos and giraffes, along with domestic animals as camel and cows and human figures.
The Messak rock art has been known since Heinrich Barth’s expedition in 1850, although it wasn’t until 1932 when the engravings were systematically studied by Leo Frobenius. In more recent times the area has been extensively studied by Pesce (1969), Graziosi (1970) and Jelinek (1984, 1985). Figures appear both isolated and within complex scenes which include engraved life-size elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, buffaloes and figures which mix human and animal features (therianthropes) along with numerous figures of more modern periods as horses and camels. Most of the engravings belong to the so called Bubalus style, but Tazina, Pastoral, Horse and Camel styles are also well represented. Research at Wadi Beddis and its tributaries began later with respect to the core area around the Tilizaghen and the Mathendous wadis, with the first works taking place in the 80’s by Jelinek, Castiglioni and Negro.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: LIBMES0120011 (TARA number)