One of the many typical V-antennae in the south of Morocco. The comparison with the camper van shows the dimensions. (Thanks to Susan and Stephan - bottom left - from for providing the photo.)

Next to the stone circles, antenna or crescent monuments are the most widespread structures in the Sahara. They come in very different forms, but have one thing in common: From a central chamber, the tumulus, arms spread out on two sides, which seemed like antennae to the first archaeological discoverers. The main forms are the so-called "V-antenna", which has a clear angle, and the arch-shaped "croissant"(crescent). There are also some variations and mixed forms of these two basic types.

A V-antenna in central Sahara. Two similar antennas of this type have been dated to 1,800 and 1,300 BC. (Thanks to Susan und Stephan of, for providing the photographs.)

The antennas are distributed all over the Sahara from Niger in the southeast, to the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the northwest. In the majority of cases, the angular opening of the antennas points to the east. Only about ten to fifteen percent of the antenas are turned exactly 180° and oriented to the west. The dating of some V-type antennae gave an age of between 3,000 and 4,000 years. Croissants appear to be even older. Tests there have shown between 4,000 and 6,000 years.

Images courtesy of Google Earth™

Beyond that, not much else is known about these monuments. Many of them were graves, others were not. Did the different forms all originate from the same line of development or did they develop independently at several sites? Could a single pastoralist or nomadic people have spread these monuments over such a large land area, or were different peoples and cultures at work here? Many questions to which archaeology still has no answers.

These pictures and the Google Maps are only a small selection. More objects are included in the following download (Google Earth required): Download more than 15,000 Google Earth placemarks >

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