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Tassili n’Ajjer: 15,000 pieces of rock art in the Sahara desert? In Algeria’s southeast, on a plateau in the Sahara desert, there are a large number of carvings and paintings: the oldest date back to as many as 12 thousand years ago. Made by our hunter-gatherer ancestors, these figures tell of a past unknown to us moderns. According to the theory of contact, the ancient artists have tried to represent ancient astronauts came into direct contact with them.

Tassili n’Ajjer is a vast plateau in the Sahara desert in Algeria’s southeast, covering an area of 72,000 km².Located in a strange lunar landscape of great geological interest, this site contains the largest and most important collection of prehistoric rock art in the world. Until now, they have been identified 15 000 engravings and drawings, in which are recorded climate change, animal migrations and the evolution of human life in a time horizon of between 12 000 and the 6000 years ago. The exceptional density of paintings and engravings, and the presence of many prehistoric vestiges, have earned the site of Tassili n’Ajjer the fame of “best open-air museum of the prehistory of the world”, so as to be inserted in the list of World Heritage UNESCO.

Discovered in 1933, the art collection covers a number of rock art works made of rock walls and includes images of wild and domestic animals, humans and geometric designs. To make a sensation was the detection of mysterious mythical beings, such as men with heads of animals, gods or spiritual beings. Eye for the modern traveler, many figures seem to have a real resemblance to devices such as helmets, antennas or weapons technology, so that the supporters of the Ancient Astronaut Theory believes to Tassili n’Ajjer one of the most important sites where to find traces of the secure extraterrestrial contact.

Clearly, any theory about it gets into speculation, as there are no written documents that could clarify the nature, identity and meaning of beings depicted in the rock. This is information lost forever. What is certain is that the art of Tassili n’Ajjer covers five distinct periods, each corresponding to a particular fauna and can be identified thanks to the stylistic differences. However, although the precise date on the various periods is a subject of debate among scholars, since sometimes the styles seem to overlap. First period: the oldest art belongs to what has been called “naturalist period”, and it is estimated to have been built between 12000 and 6000 BC It is characterized by the depiction of the savannah fauna, characterized by a more humid environmental conditions than today. Recognize elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos and other animals.

Second period: known as the “Round Head” or “archaic period”, between 9500 and 6000 BC This period is associated with the representation of enigmatic figures, Round Head, evoking likely magical-religious practices. In general, the Round Head are depicted of profiles and seemingly floating in the air.

In one scene, women are depicted with his hands up, as if seeking the blessing of a huge structure towering above them. Is felt in them a sense of affectionate subjection, without fear of the divine, of pure worship. At this time, the theorists of the Ancient Astronauts equate the possibility of contact. Third period: classified as “pastoral period” or “Bovidian”, between 7200 and 3000 BC This is the most prolific in terms of number of paintings, in which are depicted scenes of cattle and daily life. The aesthetic realism make it among the best known examples of prehistoric art….

Fourth period: said “Horse”; It goes back to a period between 3200 and 1000 BC, including the end of the Neolithic and corresponding to the disappearance of many species of animals, following the gradual drying up of the climate to the horse’s changing. In some scenes are representatives horses pulling wagons driven by charioteers unarmed, suggesting that the carts were not used to fight, but perhaps for hunting. However, wagons with wooden wheels could not be conducted smoothly through the rocky area of the Sahara. Again, we are faced with a conundrum. Fifth period: the last part of the paintings corresponds to the “Period of the Camel”, located between 2000 and 1000 BC This period coincides with the appearance of hyper-arid desert, and with the appearance of the dromedary. Despite the large number of works found by the researchers, although they represent a gash on the life of the ancient peoples of the Sahara, many questions remain open about who made the engravings and paintings of Tassili n’Ajjer and what they represent.



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Tassili n'Ajjer: 15,000 pieces of rock art in the Sahara desert.