Rock art of Figuig

The rock art of the Figuig region of Morocco consists of prehistoric engravings of the Neolithic age. They belong to the wide south Algerian group ('Sud-oranais'). They are east of the rock art of the Atlas mountains. Comparable rock engravings have been described more to the east in the surroundings of Djelfa and in Constantine, Algeria.


These carvings are less famous than the prehistoric paintings of the Tassili, but the engravings of the Sud-Oranais have been the object of numerous studies since 1863. The most important are those of A. Pommel (from 1893 to 1898), Stéphane Gsell (from 1901 to 1927), G.B.M. Flamand (from 1892 to 1921), Leo Frobenius and Hugo Obermaier (in 1925), l'Abbé Henri Breuil (from 1931 to 1957), L. Joleaud (from 1918 to 1938) and Raymond Vaufrey (from 1935 to 1955). In 1955 and 1964 Henri Lhote stayed for several months in the region, which allowed him to complete his previous investigations, to add hundreds of new descriptions and to publish (in 1970) "Les gravures rupestres du Sud-oranais" in the series "Mémoires du Centre de recherches anthropologiques préhistoriques et ethnographiques" (CRAPE)edited in Algiers by Mouloud Mammeri (Arts et Métiers Graphiques, Paris) 210 pages and photographic reproductions).

Localities and descriptions

Of the 69 numbered rock art stations in the work of Lhote, 6 belong to the Figuig region. Most of the others are on the other side of the border in Algeria: Tisserfine(1), Beni-Ounif (2), Djebel Mélias (3), Col des Zénaga (4), Djebel Youssef (5) and Djattou (6). Of one of them there is a longer description, Beni-Ounif (“Gara el Hamir”), an engraving where a little feline is depicted and a group of little horses (belonging to the later phase following the chariot phase).


* Bahn P.-G. (1998) "The Cambridge illustrated history of prehistoric art" (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
* Bruce-Lockhart, J. and Wright, J. (2000) "Difficult and dangerous roads: Hugh Clapperton's travels in the Sahara and Fezzan 1822-1825"
* Chippindale, C. and Tacon, S.-C. (eds) (1998) "The archaeology of rock art" (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
* Clottes, J. (2002) "World Rock Art", (Los Angeles, The Getty Publications).
* Lhote, H. (1959) "The search for the Tassili frescoes: the rock paintings of the Sahara" London.
* Lhote, H. (1970)"Les gravures rupestres du Sud-oranais" (Arts et Métiers graphiques, Paris).
* Mattingly, D. (ed) (forthcoming) "The archaeology of the Fezzan".
* Muzzolini, A. (1997) 'Saharan rock art', In Vogel J. O. (ed), "Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa' (Walnut Creek), pp.347-353.
* Whitley D. S. (ed) (2001) "Handbook of rock art research" (New York, Altamira Press).


*Saharan rock art
*Rock art
*Draa River
*Tassili n'Ajjer
*Rock art of south Oran (Algeria)
*Rock art of the Djelfa region

External links

* [ Algérie et Libye, sanctuaires de l'art rupestre saharien] by Yves Gauthier, Directeur de recherche au CNRS (in French).

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