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digital photograph

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art showing polished cattle engravings. Early Hunter Period. Tegharghart, Algeria.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 20 June 2006 (date digitized)
    • 30 December 1997 (original photograph)
  • Production place

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • File size: 120 megabytes
    • Resolution: 300 dots per inch
  • Curator's comments

    Close up of 2013,2034.4327.
    Known as the ‘Crying Cows, these engravings appear to move as the sun travels across them during the day. During the rains, the depression in the sand at the base of the engravings fills with water, which gives the appearance that the cows are bending their heads to drink.
    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.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • ALGDJA0060012 (TARA number)
Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art, close up of 2013,2034.4327 showing polished cattle engravings. Early Hunter Period. Tegharghart, south of Djanet, Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria. Scanned

Digital photograph (colour); view of engraved rock art, close up of 2013,2034.4327 showing polished cattle engravings. Early Hunter Period. Tegharghart, south of Djanet, Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria. Scanned

Reproduced by permission of the artist. Copyright TARA/ David Coulson

Image description



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