7. North Africa Rock Art

Tassili N’Ajjer 6,000 B.C.

The folks who write about this part of Africa frequently compare this area to a lunar landscape. It was once lush and green. It is now hot, dry, and very uncomfortable. It is the number of drawings and paintings that have survived over time that bring the visitors to this area. Given that there are reported to be 15,000 paintings, as is the case with other parts of Africa, we cannot possibly bring them all to you.


There are lots of stories in the paintings that you are about to see.

You do not have to see these only once, you can come back again and gain knowledge as you look at and understand the various stories you will see.

This is the rock landscape that the painters used to tell their stories.

Tassili N’Ajjer is at the top of this map of Africa in the nation of Algeria.


lots of us. Lets take a look at what could be found if we could go to Africa ourselves.


The people and animals are similar to things we have seen in other rock art of Africa.

Can you find the jelly fish?

And why is it here?

I wonder if they saw jelly fish in the ocean. If so that would mean they could swim.


This is called the shepherds arch. Underneath this fresco is a map for those who want to venture out and see it for themselves.

These people in these paintings have also been called “Round heads.”


Some photographers use colored lenses which is what I suspected happened here. The use of such a lenses lends more definition to the pictures.


What might this be a painting of?

Might it be a man dancing with a child or an animal?

What other possibilities do you see?


Some pictures are worn away by time.


Some pictures tell us what people .
And here is something being played with perhaps?


Can you describe the differences between this painting and the one above it?

Here we have a very different style, perhaps painted thousands of years apart. Although he has the dot markings of the earlier paintings he is so much more decorated.


And here we have someone dressed for the same party. Note the drawings underneath this one.

Here we are going to look at drawings about a kind of life we can understand.


For centuries people have been herding cows.


For centuries people have danced.


For centuries people have stood around and talked.


For centuries people have played hide and seek.

                                                                For centuries people have gone hunting, not always with a bow and arrow.


And then we have to take care of the animals again.


Where did this new animal come from?


And another form of transportation, the camel.


In the same area there are carvings on rock. This one is called the crying cow.


And in another painting on huge overhanging rocks.


This mystical piece is said to be very large.

What is being said here?

Only you can answer that question. There are a lot of questions painted into prehistoric art. In this case I have a sense of great myths. Because of the shading it is as if the two men and the deer in the upper right are ghosts coming back for some purpose. I think this every time I see this image. You, on the other hand, may see something very different or nothing unusual at all.


And this is where we have just been on our walk about.