Stone slab enclosure in the Borkou area. The person on the left shows the proportions.
(Thanks to Yves Gauthier for providing the photo.)

Scattered throughout the Sahara are tens of thousands of circular structures that appear to be the remains of prehistoric settlements. Similar to the kraals known from South Africa, families probably lived here together with their cattle in separate enclosures. But this is pure conjecture, since no clear excavation results are available yet.

Chad: Tibesti

A high density of prehistoric settlement remains can be found in the Tibesti Mountains, which stretch from northwestern Chad to southern Libya. Judging by the amount of structures still visible, this may have been one of the most densely populated areas in the whole Sahara. Most of the finds are located on the banks or near former river courses.
Images courtesy of Google Earth™

Chad: Borkou

In the province of Borkou, south of the Tibesti Mountains, the apparently random distribution of settlements can be linked to the former shorelines of lakes that existed here thousands of years ago. The size of these enclosures starts at around 20 m and can reach up to 200 m. There are no exact dates yet, but some evidence indicates that these structures could be up to 6,000 years old. If confirmed, these artifacts would be among the oldest human made structures in the Sahara.
Images courtesy of Google Earth™

Algeria / Niger: Tenere

There is also a high density of settlement remains in the area between Ahaggar and the Aïr Mountains. For chronological classification, here are some crescent tombs (croissants) that were built on top of such settlements or from their stones. From the fact that these tombs could be dated to an age of up to 4,500 years, it follows that the underlying settlements must be significantly older.
Images courtesy of Google Earth™

Mauretania: Dhar Tichitt

A separate page is dedicated to this important site, which stretches more than 500 kilometers along a cliff in Mauritania: Dhar Tichitt >

The above images are only a small selection. More in the following download (Google Earth required): Download of about 6,500 placemarks >


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