- Museum number
Digital photograph (colour); view of desert landscape. To the foreground a rectangular grave made of plain stones can be seen, holding the remains of an infant laying on his right side, with the body crouched. Half of the skull and bones are visible due to erosion. A 25 cm photo scale has been fitted at the left side of the grave structure. To the background two four-wheel drive cars parked on a wadi under rocky outcrops can be seen. Ennedi Plateau, Chad.
- Production date
18 May 2006 (date digitized)
November 1996 (original photograph)
File size: 120 megabytes
Resolution: 300 dots per inch
- Curator's comments
- The place is named "The Great Cave" in TARA records, but this is just a descriptive name to identify it and there is no evidence that this is its actual name.
The Ennedi plateau is located at the north-eastern corner of Chad, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. It is a sandstone massif carved by erosion in a series of superimposed terraces, alternating plains and ragged cliffs crossed by seasonal rivers (wadis). Unlike other areas in the Sahara with rock art engravings or paintings, the Ennedi Plateau receives rain regularly –if scarce- during the summer, and thus it is a more benign environment to human life that other areas placed to the north, as the Messak plateau, the Tassili or the Tibesti Mountains. However, its position far from the main trade routes made its rock art being unknown to Europe until the 1930’s, when Burthe d’Annelet gave notice of them and De Saint-Floris published the first paper on the subject. The main effort to document this rock art came in 1956-1957 when Gerard Bailloud documented more than 500 rock art sites within an area of just one sixth of the entire plateau.
The depictions in the Ennedi Plateau can be broadly organized in the same periods and styles of the rest of Saharan rock art areas. Therefore, three main periods have been documented: the so-called archaic period –representing wild animals-, the bovine period (which has domestic cattle as the predominant animal) and a third, late period named the dromedary or Camel Period. However, there are several slight regional differences with respect to other Saharan regions. The first one is the absence of differentiated Horse and Camel Periods: in the Ennedi depictions both animals appear together, and thus they are included in a generic dromedary period (although horses were introduced earlier than dromedaries in the Sahara). Secondly, the oldest engravings in the Ennedi plateau are much more modern than those to the north, starting to appear at the 5th-4th millennia BC. Finally, the numerous cliffs and gorges at the Ennedi plateau house depictions of numerous local styles, sometimes contemporary to others, sometimes corresponding to successive periods. That variability means an enormous richness of techniques, themes and artistic conventions, with some of the most original depictions in Saharan rock art. Paintings are dominant in the sample, although engravings are relatively common in the area.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CHAENP0050044 (TARA number)