Rock Art

Bovidian - Pastoral


These works are stylistically very varied. This results either from their very wide geographical distribution, or from an important socio-cultural evolution of the groups of herders who adapted their life-style to the changing environmental conditions. In addition, this stylistic variability could have been influenced by the migrations of the different ethnic groups which followed each other on the same territory at different periods.

Mori (1998, 2000), in the Acacus, identifies three successive phases, either for paintings or engravings:

Uan Tabu herders.
Acacus - Libya.

Recent Pastoral:

Herders of Ti-n-Anneuin and Ti-n-Lalan - lanky herders probably of Nilo-Chamitic origin.




Ti-n-Anneuin herders.
Acacus - Libya.

Early and Middle Pastoral:

Pastoral of Uan Tabu - herders probably of sub-equatorial origin. Pastoral of Uan Amil - Mediterranean herders.


Uan Amil herders.
Acacus - Libya.

Muzzolini (1989, 1995) identified the following schools (listed in chronological order from the oldest to the most recent) in the Tassili-n-Ajjer, which he then partially extended to the Acacus: Sefar-Ozanaré: flat-tinted paintings with characters displaying "negroid" features.

This school is more or less contemporary with the Round Heads and the Bubaline.

Abaniora: paintings generally flat-tinted with people sometimes looking like today's Fulani

Abaniora people . Abaniora - Tassili de Tamrit - Algeria.  

Sefar-Ozanaré hunter . Sefar - Tassili de Tamrit - Algeria.


Iheren-Tahilahi: outlined paintings (sometimes the interior surface is marked by a light-coloured flat-tint), showing people with "Europoid" features, often armed with javelins. According to Muzzolini, this style corresponds to that of Mori's Uan Amil.

Herders of Ti-n-Anneuin: Muzzolini keeps Mori's definition, notes that this style is as frequent in the northern Tassili as in the Acacus, and remarks that it corresponds to the transition towards the Caballine period.


Herder of Ti-n-Anneuin.
W. Kessan - Acacus - Libya.

Iheren-Tahilahi humans. Tahilahi - Tassili central - Algeria. .


Basically, engravings don't have the same stylistic variability as paintings : the latter allow the representation of fine detail, something that is impossible for engravings on rocky surfaces.

According to Mori, who limits his considerations to theAcacus, the classification of the pastoral paintings can be extended to the engravings.

Muzzolini incorporates the "Tazina", or schematic bubaline style, in the pre-Caballine engravings. The distribution zone of these engravings is almost the same as that of the bubaline and covers nearly all the Sahara.

Shepherd followed by a goat. Engraving classified by Mori in the Middle Pastoral period. Wadi Imha - Acacus - Libya  

Bovid in Tazina style followed by two people engraved in a different style, probably more recent. El Awrer - Messak - Libya

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Last update of this website 20/12/14