Sunday, June 24, 2007


El Moudjahid, a government newspaper, recently reported that a local tour guide found about 40 etched images near the town of Bechar, about 800 km (500 miles) southwest of the capital Algiers. Algeria is known as a treasure house of prehistoric Saharan art. These newly discovered petroglyphs date to around 8,000 year ago (Neolithic) and show cattle herds.

Prehistoric paintings are found in many parts of the Sahara, often portraying a garden-like environment of hunting and dancing in bright greens, yellows and reds as well as petroglyphs like these at a time before desertification, that happened around 4,000 years ago.

Algeria's best known drawings are in the southeast in the Tassili N'Ajjer mountains. The site of 15,000 images has been named world's finest prehistoric open-air by UNESCO.

Despite a rich Saharan inheritance, Algeria remains off the beaten track for most because of its politically unstable history and an undeveloped tourist sector.


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