Art Principles and History

Prehistoric Art

What is Tassili N’Ajjer?

Tassili N’Ajjer is an approximately seven-thousand-year-old in southeastern Algeria with thousands of rock paintings and engravings—one of the earliest and most impressive examples of rock art in Africa. During the time when many of the images were made, this section of the Sahara desert was a grassy plain and the paintings include images of elephants, hippopotami, and giraffes. Later images depict men, women, and children gathered around small houses, cattle grazing nearby. As the Sahara dried over thousands of years, new animals appear in the rock art, such as camels and horses introduced from nearby Egypt.

The rock paintings of Tassili N’Ajjer give us a glimpse of what life was like in prehistoric North Africa.


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