Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jonbaer

5000 years ago Sahara was a green landscape with lakes and rivers

Recommended Posts

I've actually been doing quite some research into various aspects of Saharan history and pre-history... I found so much more than I was bargaining for... Using google maps, I finally managed to find the stone settlements of the Dhar Tichitt, Dhar Nema and Dhar Walata escarpment, in southern Mauritania, southern Sahara (I was never able to find them before). These are the oldest stone ruins in West Africa, the oldest agriculturalists as well as the earliest Iron workers in the region (9th century BC). They lasted from 2500 BC to 300 BC, when the encroaching Sahara made dense settlement patterns a lot more difficult. A more impoverished successor culture to Tichitt managed to hold on into the common era. These sites are among the most important archaeological sites in West Africa, because they're the original progenitors of millet cultivation and iron working in West Africa, and they're ancestral and partially ancestral to a large number of modern West Africans south of the Sahara. But barely anything is really known about them. I actually mapped one of the biggest towns I could find, because I've never seen a map of it myself. Of course I could only map the areas that weren't covered by sand and my contour lines are less than scientific (just to give an indication of elevation, not exact measurement). The central settlement area is about 1100 meters by 600 meters. Not too shabby for a Neolithic stone town. It was even walled... I don't know if this place even has a specific name (archaeologists refer to these sites with numbers)...  

1917653176_DharTichittOualataescarpmentstonetownb.thumb.jpg.9964276de2e8c161fb55fdac035d1574.jpg

1514209279_DharTichittOualataescarpmentstonetownC.thumb.jpg.dc7b0666665c4295e43c0a58a5916e0c.jpg

 

There's literally hundreds of these kind of sites! There's clear evidence of social stratification and defensive works. There's also a clear hierarchy in the towns. The the biggest ones I could find, including the one pictured above, were surrounded by smaller satellite settlements, some still quite sizeable, with even smaller settlements and sometimes single hamlets spread out further along the escarpment. Then a break in habitation, and then the same pattern starts repeating a couple dozen km away. They're now being recognized as the earliest known polity in West Africa, sometimes referred to as the Tichitt polity. Their drystone architecture also must have formed the basis of the drystone architecture of the later berber dominated periods of the Southern Sahara. 

Here's a more modest, but well preserved settlement I came across, a satellite settlement to a larger town

642067303_DharTichittneolithicwestafricanstoneruinstownsaharadesertescarpment.thumb.jpg.523294d5b775b6c0b9263e2030b5fee9.jpg

 

On the ground, the ruins look like this:

1178852041_TichittruinsE.jpg.86dd64318f974fade6ce5d91308141ec.jpg

609458178_TichittruinsD.jpg.ae09dacc87eea16de8d619fea3d9ff14.jpg

1340228741_DharTichitt.thumb.png.35acc05588e57f40890638e3cfe7d800.png

 

 

In my google maps searches of the Sahara I found sites that I can't even identify... Can't find any information on them... The one pictured below was my coolest find. Southern Mauritania, middle of the Sahara, on the edge of a plateau with a seasonal river. Without information available I can only roughly date it by comparison. It looks like south-west Saharan berber architecture from the 11th to 18th century. 

1129874805_17.392201-10.355246MauritaniaruinsC.thumb.jpg.46da3110e228652292254f80a7da6728.jpg

 

Luckily I was able to identify other site I came across, like Assodé, an old Tuareg capital in the Aïr Mountains in northern Niger, also in the middle of the desert. Founded in the 11th century, destroyed in 1917 by a rival Tuareg group. Places like these illustrate that even the nomads of the Sahara had hometowns.  

906593423_AssodeAirMountainsTuaregtowncapitalF.thumb.jpg.adb2861057b308063e2cdec0b545c5ba.jpg 

 

What it looks like on the ground:

339447476_AssodeTuaregArMountainsNigerAfricaSaharadeserttownruins.thumb.jpg.43702f8a8bf7424717f82195cb9b0b13.jpg

 

Edited by Sundiata
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Sundiata said:

I guess they're not the big bad killing machines National Geographic made me think they were. Then again, Nile Crocodiles, or even worse, those Australian salt water crocs are in a different league...    

Whilst fully grown crocodiles can be dangerous, what most people fail to realize how little crocodilians have to eat; they don't regulate their body temperature (unlike mammals and birds), they can remain motionless for hours, and they wait for their prey to approach them rather than actively hunting; moreover, brooding females survive several months without food.

For instance, a 2-3 m Nile crocodile (the size at which fish is their dominant food—larger specimens don't eat fish—too much work—and smaller sizes eat mainly insects, snails, crabs, etc.) eats on average under 300 g fish per day. For comparison, a single pelican can eat over 3 kg fish per day; a lion requires about 5-7 kg meat per day but can eat as much as 30 kg in a single meal; hippopotamuses eat up to 70 kg of grass each night.

Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus, which lives from Ceylon and India to Australia and New Caledonia) females (up to 3 m and 100 kg) are unlikely to attack humans, because too much effort to kill and too much food to stomach; fully grown males (up to 6 m and 1000 kg) wouldn't mind eating humans if the opportunity presents itself, though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...