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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 12 (2) 2014

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T. Barnett & M. Guagnin

Changing Places: Rock Art and Holocene Landscapes in the Wadi al-Ajal, South-West Libya

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 12 (2), 2014, pages 165-182, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10258

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between rock art and landscape use by pastoral groups and early settled communities in the central Sahara from around 6000 BC to 1000 AD. During this period the region experienced significant climatic and environmental fluctuations. Using new results from a systematic survey in the Wadi al-Ajal, south-west Libya, our research combines data from over 2000 engraved rock art panels with local archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence within a GIS model. Spatial analysis of these data indicates a correspondence between the frequency of rock art sites and human settlement over time. However, while changes in settlement location were guided primarily by the constraints on accessibility imposed by surface water, the distribution of rock art relates to the availability of pasture and patterns of movement through the landscape. Although the reasons for these movements undoubtedly altered over time, natural routes that connected the Wadi al-Ajal and areas to the south continued to be a focus for carvings over several thousand years.


Résumé

Cet article étudie la relation entre l'art rupestre et l'exploitation du paysage par les groupes pastoraux et les premiers établissements humains dans le centre du Sahara ca 6000 BC – 1000 AD. Durant cette période la région a subi plusieurs fluctuations climatiques et écologiques. Avec l'aide des nouveaux résultats d'un relèvement compréhensif qui a eu lieu dans le Wadi al-Ajal, dans le sud ouest de la Libye, nos recherches intègrent les données de plus de 2000 panneaux de gravures ainsi que la présence de l'archéologie locale et de l'environnement paléo qui se manifestent dans le modèle de GIS. L'analyse spatiale de ces données indique un rapport entre la fréquence des sites de l'art rupestre et les établissements humains à travers le temps. Par ailleurs, tandis que les mouvements humains étaient déterminé à priori par l'accès à l'eau potable, la distribution de l'art rupestre dépend de la disponibilité du pâturage et le mouvement de la population à travers le paysage. Au fil du temps, les raisons et les motifs pour les mouvements humains ont sans doute beaucoup changé mais les routes naturelles qui relient le Wadi-al-Ajal à d'autres régions dans le sud continuent à se centrer sur les gravures pendant plusieurs millénaires.



Keywords: landscape, palaeoenvironment, pastoralism, rock art, Sahara, transhumance


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Editors:
Sonja Magnavita, Peter Breunig, Sam Nixon

Book Reviews Editor:
Jonathan R. Walz, USA

Editorial Advisory Board:
Graham Connah, Australia
Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Timothy Insoll, UK
Tom Huffman, South Africa
Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
David Killick, USA
Savino di Lernia, Italy
Alexandre Livingstone Smith, Belgium
Scott MacEachern, USA
David Mattingly, UK
Susan Keech McIntosh, USA
David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
Peter Robertshaw, USA
Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

Copy Editors:
Nikolas Gestrich, UK
Gaby Franke, Germany
Annabelle Gallin, France
Richard Byer, Germany

Editorial Assistance:
Anna Rybar, Germany
Carlos Magnavita, Germany


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