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GOULETS

 
   
This type II goulet in northern Mali is one of the largest, if not the largest, goulet in the Sahara with its 250 m diameter. See in Google Maps >

Goulets are tumulus tombs whose occurrence extends from a high density in the Algerian Central Sahara to Western Sahara. They are mainly concentrated in the mountain massifs around the Tassili N'Ajjer. The first dates so far have shown an age of around 4,500 to 6,500 years.

Goulets are always oriented west-east and are bounded by an oval outer ring. Lengths of 100 meters are not uncommon and some goulets of almost 200 meters in length have even been found. In most cases, this outer ring is open at its eastern end. At its western apex, or very close to it, lies the Tomb Tumulus. From there, two dividing lines form a narrow lane to the east, dividing the oval into two equal horizontal halves. The name Goulet (= French bottleneck) is derived from this narrow lane.

Goulet Type I



Goulet Type II

In addition, a large number of variants can be found, some of which differ greatly in shape from the actual goulet. The tumulus moves from the western end towards the centre and the whole shape becomes more and more rounded. Often, all that is left of the long narrow way is a short, squeezed entrance. Only its opening to the east still betrays its relationship to the goulet. If we place some of these variants next to each other, we can understand that goulets and keyhole tombs are probably related to each other and that one form may have developed from the other.



Goulet western style (Mosca)

Another variant, which looks very similar to Goulet Type I, was named "Mosca" (= Spanish fly) by its Spanish discoverers. Moscas are found only in the western Sahara and are more conical than oval in shape. The two horizontal divisions, forming an alley in the middle, are even closer together here, sometimes even merging into a single line. From above, these monuments look like flies with folded wings.

26.00719,-11.15836
26.00719,-11.15836
23.81637,-7.24907
23.81637,-7.24907
23.68747,-7.38715
23.68747,-7.38715
26.28058,-10.60256
26.28058,-10.60256
26.23386,-10.58606
26.23386,-10.58606
26.49308,4.37958
26.49308,4.37958
  
Images courtesy of Google Earth™

These pictures are only a small selection. All the objects I found are included in the following download (Google Earth required): Download placemarks of about 500 goulets >




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