Tassili n’Ajjer is a vast plateau in south-east Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger and Mali, covering an area of 72,000 sq. km.
The exceptional density of paintings and engravings, and the presence of many prehistoric vestiges, are remarkable testimonies to Prehistory. From 10,000 BC to the first centuries of our era, successive peoples left many archaeological remains, habitations, burial mounds and enclosures which have yielded abundant lithic and ceramic material.
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I have seen similar images like this on ancient Greek vases and the male image has the same skin pigment. Must be a coincidence because according the mainstream texts, Africans were never in Greece. -Sola
The amazing image of an African noble was produced by a Greek artist living in southern Italy more than 2,300 years ago. This work speaks to the diversity of the ancient Mediterranean world and to the very human interest that Greek artists took in the people and world around them.
The naturalism of this image leaves no doubt that the artist had directly encountered black Africans even if he (or she) did not intend this as a portrait of a specific individual. The vase was made with a mould (for the head) to which wheel-made elements (the foot, neck and mouth) and a handle were attached. The form is an oinochoe, a pitcher for pouring wine. It may have been used in a household or even at a symposium, where ornamented vases often served as conversation starters.
However, it is the rock art (engravings and paintings) that have made Tassili world famous as from 1933, the date of its discovery. 15,000 engravings have been identified to date.
Tassili-n-Ajjer in Algeria is one of the most famous North African sites of rock painting. Its imagery documents a verdant Sahara teeming with life that stands in stark contrast to the arid desert the region has since become.
Algeria, South Region of Tassili, oasis town of Djanet, famous yearly Touareg Sebeida festival, here women assisting to the demonstrations by the two teams and supporting men until they get into trance.
Tassili paintings and engravings, like those of other rock art areas in the Sahara, are commonly divided into at least four chronological periods based on style and content.
These are: an archaic tradition depicting wild animals whose antiquity is unknown but certainly goes back well before 4500 B.C.; a so-called bovidian tradition, which corresponds to the arrival of cattle in North Africa between 4500 and 4000 B.C.; a “horse” tradition, which corresponds to the appearance of horses in the North African archaeological record from about 2000 B.C. onward; and a “camel” tradition, which emerges around the time of Christ when these animals first appear in North Africa.
Engravings of animals such as the extinct giant buffalo are among the earliest works, followed later by paintings in which color is used to depict humans and animals with striking naturalism. In the last period, chariots, shields, and camels appear in the rock paintings. Although close to the Iberian Peninsula, it is currently believed that the rock art of Algeria and Tassili developed independently of that in Europe.
Humans lived in this area by developing cultural and physiological behavior adapted to the harsh climate; their vestiges date back to several hundreds of thousands of years. The rock art of Tassili n’Ajjer, is the most eloquent expression of relationships between humans and the environment, with more than 15,000 drawings and engravings testifying to climate changes, wildlife migrations, and the evolution of humankind on the edge of the Sahara.
This art depicts water-dependent species like the hippopotamus, and species which have been extinct in the region for thousands of years. This combination of geological, ecological and cultural elements is a highly representative example of a testimony to life.
He is fluent in English, French and several African languages.
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.
Kofi Annan with his wife Nane Maria Annan
Rock Art below