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Rock-pictures and Archaeology in the Libyan Desert

  • D. Newbold

Out of Africa there is always something new, as Aristotle wrote in the fourth century B.C., and although the Libyan Desert is one of the most desolate areas of the world’s surface, recent explorations have shown that there are many archaeological discoveries to be made which will throw considerable light on the early history of peoples and their migrations in North Africa.

In the eastern Sahara and in the Libyan Desert, there are still many unexplored tracts, and even, it is probable, several unvisited oases, particularly in the great white spaces on the map which stretch southwest and southeast of the Kufara oasis-group.

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1 e.g., C. Müller, in his commentary on Ptolemy, and Vivien St. Martin in Le Nord de l’Afrique dans l’Antiquité (1863).

2 Full narratives of these two expeditions will be found in Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 7, no. I (1924), pp. 4392, and and XI, no. 2 (1928), which latter will appear towards the end of this year.

* Figs. 2 and 3 in this article are reproduced by kind permission of the Editor of S.N. and R.

3 Parkyn, E.A. Prehistoric Art, 1915, p. 114. Burkitt, M.C. Pre-history, 1921, pp. 283–3.

4 , F.W. and Beechey, H.W. Expedition to … the northern coast of Africa, p. 161.

5 A fine site with an ancient well, broken sandstone pillars, stone lintels with sockets, containing walls, boneheaps, and innumerable burnt bricks. No description has yet been published.

6 Sudan Notes and Records, January 1920, p. 27. MacMichael, H.A.The Tungur-Fur of Dar Furnung’.

7 S. N. and R., vol. VII, no. I, plate III.

8 Ibid., plate II.

9 Evans, Ancient Stone Implements, fig. 83 (a) p. 137.

10 No specimen has been killed by a European. The last lion in Tunisia was shot in 1891. Lions were tamed by the Dynastic Egyptians.

11 See Harding King’s, W.J. Mysteries of the Libyan Desert, 1925, pp. 51–4 and DrBall’s, J.Problems of the Libyan Desert’, Geographical Journal July, Aug., Sept., 1927, and appendix 9 to my forthcoming article in S.N. and R., vol. XI, no. 2.

12 MacMichael, H.C.Rock Pictures in Northern Kordofan’, J.R.A.I. 39 (1909), 563.

13 Numbered D4 in MacMichael’s History of the Arabs of the Sudan. The title is ‘A compendium of the History and Geography of El Nubä’ and the author one Daud Kubara ibn Suleiman.

14 Les Gravures Rupestres du Djebel Owenat’, Revue Scientifique, 25 Feb. 1928.

15 Excellent reproductions are given in Miss Helen Tongue’s Bushman Paintings, 1909.

16 Tilho, ‘The Exploration of Tibesti, etc., 1912—1917’. G.J. 56 (1920), p. 258 and photograph p. 88.

17 Description byDescription by Breuil, H. in L’Anthropologie, 36 (1926), p. 409.Notice in ANTIQUITY, I, p. 353—5.

18 Figured in the article on Owenat in L’Anthropologie, and also in Les Depots de Jarres du Desert de Lybie’, Revue Scientifique, 1927. Prince Kemal el Din Hussein and M. L. Franchet.

19 A paper on these and other stone implements, which Prince Kemal el Din found, was read by Pére Bouvier de la Pierre early this year before the Institut d’Egypte, but it will not be published till November.

20 G.J. Sept. 1927, p. 220.

21 Especially in Taiserbo, which was probably more anciently inhabited than the other oasis.

22 Native information reports here palms, a salt lake, and broken sherds.

23 Rodd, People of the Veil, p. 336, quoting Minutoli’s, Tripolitania.

24 H.J.L. Beadnell of the Egyptian Survey is, Dr. Ball tells me, digging a well in long. 28°, lat. 22° 14´.

25 A frontier district administration patrol has penetrated to a point at lat. 27° 45´, long. 25° 45´. At lat. 28° 48´, long. 25° 39´ traces of an old caravan route from Kufara ito Siwa were found.

In March 1792, W.G. Browne, who later traversed the whole length of the Darb el Arbain, found a well about 40 miles WSW of Siwa, when looking for some reported ruins.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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