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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The first reports on the rock art of north Africa were written in the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, rock art has become a key area of African archaeological research. Commencing with a short background on the environmental setting, this chapter reviews past research and major theoretical perspectives through to the present, highlighting contributions to wider debates. The main geographical, temporal, and archaeological frameworks of north African rock art are summarized in broad chronological order, beginning with late Pleistocene engravings up to ‘Camel art’ of more recent, historical age. Despite current hurdles faced in today’s research environment, rock art studies are of great importance in north Africa, especially when undertaken by African scholars. This precious, irreplaceable, nonrenewable cultural resource is of great educational value, and its preservation, teaching, and dissemination may contribute to a renewed awareness of the cultural value of rock art for future generations.

Keywords: North Africa; Sahara; climate change; Pleistocene hunters; early Holocene foragers; Holocene herders; desert peoples; landscapes; preservation; threats

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