Saharan Rock Art at the MAN

3 July–30 September 2018

 

The prehistoric collections of the National Archaeological Museum boast a considerable number of materials from the Western Sahara, assembled by researchers and collectors when this territory was still a Spanish protectorate.

Among them is a remarkable array of slabs carved with animal motifs that shed light on the symbolic world of their creators. The techniques used to make this art are diverse and include pecking (the simplest and most abundant method), incision and abrasion. The most polished engravings were made by abrasion.

This art ranges from the late Palaeolithic to the pre-Islamic era, with a special emphasis on the Neolithic period. Representations of wild animals such as antelope, lions and even elephants, now only found in wetter climates, attest to the climate changes that turned this part of the world into the desert we know today.