Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Les gravures naturalistes de l’Adrar des Iforas (Mali) dans le contexte de l’art rupestre saharien.

Abstract : The analysis of rock engravings located at the northwestern part of the the Adrar of the Iforas’ mountains allowed us to conclude in the existence of an ancient phase composed with naturalistic figures. The authors of these works were part of a pastoral society with a strong tradition of cattle breeding and were most likely initiated to the art of engraving. They visited the valleys at a time when the biotope was still lacustrine or wetland. By comparing their figurations with those of other regions, it is possible to approach the circumstances that brought them to the southern border of the Sahara. Examination of the geographical distribution of naturalistic engravings suggests that the territory of predilection of this pastoral society, which also raised sheep, included the Tassili n’Ajjer and Fezzan mountains. It was after 7000 BP - date of the appearance of cattle and sheep in these regions - that the tradition of rock engraving was born and it was before 5000 BP that the society responsible for it vanished. Around 5000 BP, the rise in the level of the water bodies covering the Ine Sakane erg located north-west of the Adrar des Iforas, testifies that the climate of the Malian Sahara was milder than that of the north. The vegetation that was then developing on the valleys of the Adrar des Iforas had to attract cattle keepers and, in this case, the authors of the naturalistic phase. By fixing the date of extinction of the naturalistic phase to a period prior to 5000 BP, we release for the phases of stylized engravings which will succeed it without cultural filiation, a temporal range in accordance with their iconographic contents. These chronological indications lead us to believe that the figurative conventions of Pharaonic Egypt and that some elements of its cosmogony may have partly derived from Saharan know-how and beliefs.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [49 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Christian Dupuy <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 1, 2020 - 8:50:27 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:53 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 25, 2020 - 12:04:14 AM


LAPMO 1989.pdf
Explicit agreement for this submission


  • HAL Id : halshs-02695501, version 1


Christian Dupuy. Les gravures naturalistes de l’Adrar des Iforas (Mali) dans le contexte de l’art rupestre saharien.. Travaux du Laboratoire d'Anthropologie et de Préhistoire des Pays de la Méditerranée Occidentale, 1989. ⟨halshs-02695501⟩



Record views


Files downloads