Rock Cravings

Can you imagine our desert without camels? Can you expect to see giraffes walking in the western desert, say in Siwa for example?                                                   Tab3an la`

But what if in some point in history there were no camels in our desert and instead there were wild animals (that we see in South African parks) like giraffes, lions, ostriches,,,,? What if this assumption was not an assumption!

Have you heard about the Rock cravings? The most famous ones are in Libya (check out this website, and when I read the Lost Oases I discovered that Ahmed Hassanein saw similar pictographs in his journey (he even took photos !). If you are interested to know more about this then you have to get the book :-). He didn’t study this discovery extensively as he feared to raise the suspicions of the Bedouins, also he knew this was out of the scope of his journey and needed specific scientific expeditions, so he left solving this mystery for future expeditions…

Here is a part of his article that he wrote in the National Geographic Magazine in 1924 describing this discovery: The animals are rudely drawn, but not, unskillfully carved. There are lions, giraffes, ostriches, and all kinds of gazelles, but no camels. The carvings are from a half to a quarter of an inch deep and the edges of the lines in some instances are considerably weathered. “Who made these?” I asked Malakenni, the Tebu. He expressed the belief that they were the work of the jinn. “For,” he added “what man can do these things now?” What man among the present inhabitants, indeed! 

Some people beleive that these cravings are the the real-life Cave of Swimmers featured in the novel and movie The English Patient ( check this), but I don’t know if this was true or not. here is a photo of the cave as presented in the book :

Uweinat area in 1930-31

Here is photo from the cave of swimmers (check this):

Here is what said in anarticle about “The Gilf Kebir”:

Within the Wadi Hamra are three groups of rock art sites. All are engravings, in a fairly crude style, depicting wild fauna. Based on the style and state of weathering they seem to belong to the earliest phase of rock art in the region. The first group, discovered by Rhotert, lies near the head of the valley, but apparently is very difficult to find. The second group is also difficult to find, but lies on a low rock face on the east side of the valley in the middle section. They record animals, many of which are unidentifiable, including three figures that are almost certainly rhinoceros. This is unique to the eastern Sahara, and may also point to the extreme age of these engravings. The third group is at the end of a small side wadi not far from the previous group. They show engravings of animals, including mainly giraffes. (read the full article, it has interesting pictures) . It’s one of my “Things To Do” to go see these rock cravings with my own eyes, wish me luck,,,


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