- Museum number
Digital photograph (colour); view of painted rock art showing five figures standing, floating/swimming (?), holding triple-bent bow and arrows and wearing headdresses; and a quadruped facing right (antelope?). Rocks gathered and placed at bottom of rock face. Round Head Period. Tin Tazarift, Algeria.
- Production date
30 December 1997 (original photograph)
11 April 2006 (date digitized)
File size: 119 megabytes
Resolution: 300 dots per inch
- Curator's comments
Duplicate of 2013,2034.4123.
The French ethnographer Henri Lhote thought the whole scene could symbolise people involved in supernatural experiences, which might include out-of-body travel. The paintings are thought to date up to nine millennia ago.
Some of the depictions of rock art at Tin Tazarift (Algeria) has been compared with the Fulani rites of Silatagi (mysteries of pastoralism) and Lotori (a celebration of the ox's aquatic origin). The hairstyles and the headdresses of figures of some Saharan depictions have also been seen as similar to those of modern Fulani.
Algeria is Africa’s largest country and most of it falls within the Sahara Desert. It also hosts a rich rock art concentration. Most of the sites are found in the south east of the country near its borders with Libya and Niger but there are also important concentrations in the Algerian Maghreb and in the Hoggar Mountains in the central south. The most renowned of all these areas is the Tassili n’Ajjer (meaning ‘plateau of chasms’) in the south east. Water and sand erosion have carved out a landscape of thin passageways, large arches, and high-pillared rocks, described as “forests of stone” by French archaeologist and ethnographer Henri Lhote. The resulting undercuts at cliff bases have created rock shelters with smooth walls ideal for painting and engraving.
The Ajjer plateau rises to approximately 500-600 metres above the plain of Djanet, an oasis city, and capital of Djanet District, in Illizi Province, southeast Algeria. The region has been inhabited since Neolithic times, when the environment was much wetter and sustained a wider extent of flora and fauna as witnessed in the numerous rock paintings of Tassili n'Ajjer. Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982 and Biosphere Reserve in 1986, Tassili n'Ajjer covers a vast area of desert landscape in southern Algeria, stretching from the Niger and Libyan border area, north and east of Djanet, as far as Illizi and Amguid, covering an area of 72,000 sq. km. More than 15,000 rock paintings and engravings, dating back as far as 12,000 years are located in this region and have made Tassili world famous for this reason. The art depicts herds of cattle and large wild animals such as giraffe and elephant, as well as human activities such as hunting and dancing. The area is especially famous for its Round Head paintings which were first described and published by Henri Lhote in the 1950s. Thought to date from around 9,000 years old, some of these paintings are the largest found on the African continent, measuring up to 13 feet in height.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: ALGDJA0010033 (TARA number)