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Where did the ancient Saharan people go ?

Posted on Wednesday, 26 June, 2013 | Comment icon 21 comments | News tip by: seeder

Image credit: CC 2.0 Joadl

The Sahara was home to sizable communities up to 10,000 years ago, but what happened to them ?

Paleolithic rock art discovered in regions of the Sahara desert are now all that's left of what were once sophisticated human settlements which over the centuries developed clay pottery, rode horses and eked out a living in what is now the world's largest desert. But who were these ancient people, how did they survive there and where did they go ?

Archaeologist Stefan Kröpelin ventured in to the Sahara in the hopes of finding the answers. What he discovered was that the Sahara was not always as it is today - thousands of years ago it was a lush savannah covered in grassland and lakes, the perfect place for early humans to settle. As time went on however the region dried up, forcing its ancient inhabitants back towards the Nile.

"The Sahara in central Africa is the largest hot desert on Earth, its blistering sands practically lifeless."

  View: Full article |  Source: io9.com

  Discuss: View comments (21)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by seeder on 26 June, 2013, 14:02
I think this is probably the most logical answer, along with Cormacs. Some of the Saharan rock art shows cattle or deer type animals, something perhaps not found in desert landscapes quote: What they suggest (Kröpelin and his team), is that after a long arid period during the last ice age, the Sahara began to experience heavy monsoons starting about 8500 years BCE. The whole region became a grassy savannah, full of edible plants and animals, and people moved from the Nile valley deep into the eastern Sahara. As the monsoons grew milder, about 7000 BCE, people moved south too... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Harte on 26 June, 2013, 15:44
While your reference is primarily about the Eastern Sahara, there was a culture that stretched across the entire Sahara, even up into modern times (as we know - Bedouin, Tuareg, etc.) The portion of your post I quoted above might have left readers with the implication that everyone moved out of the desert. Plus, I got some more rock art to show. The following are from the Tassili Plateau in what is now Algeria: Elephant (Archaic Period) 8,000 - 7,000 BP: Pastoral Period 6000 - 2200 BP: Horse Period 3200 - 1200 BP Divided into subperiods Chariot and Camel: Here's a camel one... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by seeder on 26 June, 2013, 15:57
We need a massive hurricane or 2 in the desert to blow lots of sand away! Just think whats buried, ruins, tombs maybe, entire villages, maybe treasure too. But we may never know sadly...like so many other things lost in the sands of time
Comment icon #15 Posted by paperdyer on 26 June, 2013, 17:51
I've always wondered how all the dirt and plants, etc. changed to silica over the eons.
Comment icon #16 Posted by seeder on 26 June, 2013, 17:55
But they dont do that, do they? Sand is from weathered rocks, like sandstone, or any other rock to be fair
Comment icon #17 Posted by moonshadow60 on 26 June, 2013, 18:17
And somewhere under all of that dirt is water. I've read articles about the "ocean" of water beneath the Sahara. It does look a bit like beach sand, doesn't it?
Comment icon #18 Posted by HollyDolly on 27 June, 2013, 11:57
My late father during World War 2 was in North Africa. I recall him talking about the rock paintings. Daddy also mentioned about how from the air,when they were flying over the desert,you could see what appeared to be the remains of cities or towns .He was a flight crew chief and mechanic with the 376 Liberators and bombed the Ploesti Romanian Oil fields amongst other places. I once asked him did they ever attempt to do archeological digs at these sites, and he said as far as he knew,no. Some were rather remote, not easy to get to apparently.
Comment icon #19 Posted by keithisco on 28 June, 2013, 15:32
There is always a denier who fails to read his own links: Currently the Earth is tilted at 23.44 degrees from its orbital plane, roughly halfway between its extreme values. The tilt is in the decreasing phase of its cycle, and will reach its minimum value around the year 11,800 ; the last maximum was reached in 8,700 . This trend in forcing, by itself, tends to make winters warmer and summers colder (i.e. milder seasons), as well as cause an overall cooling trend, but the shows a comparatively sudden rise in global temperatures in the 20th and 21st centuries attributed to man-made e... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by jaylemurph on 29 June, 2013, 3:52
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urantia_Book#Criticism_of_its_science The only informationThe Urantia Book reliably provides is "Who is the biggest sucker in the room?" --Jaylemurph
Comment icon #21 Posted by seeder on 29 June, 2013, 6:36
dbl post

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