Tauz Neolithic Rock Art, Morocco



Tauz neolithic rock carvings, Morocco, pictures, photos & images




The History of Taouz Rock Carvings

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In the South East of Morocco on the edge of the Sahara desert near the border with Algeria is the military post of Taouz. 20 km east of Taouz prehistoric Saharan rock art of cattle can be found on a flat rocks on a barren arid high hill. Nearby is the ruin of a prehistoric stone dwelling and below in the barren valley are the remains of a prehistoric village. Locals still tell that the rock was a place of worship and the dwelling nearby, being the highest in the village, belonged to the shaman of chief of the community. Excavations though indicated that these were not dwellings but burial tumuli so perhaps Tauz represents a prehistoric graveyard.


Although the earliest Hominid remains of Homo Erectus in Morocco are dated at around 40,000BC, the petroglyphs near Taouz possible date from 2,500BC when the climate of the area allowed it to be inhabited. The rock carvings at Taouz were first noted by Rabbi Mardochee Abi Serour in 1875 who had seen them on his travels. . It was not until 1934 though that professional archaeologists under the direction of Ruhlman, Inspector of Moroccan Prehistoric Antiquities, made a concerted effort to catalogue the Rock art of Morocco.


The site near Taouz is remote and difficult to find without a guide or a 4x4 vehicle. The stone age village is set amongst barren hills and high on a hill overlooking a valley are the remains of a round stone burial tumuli. Above this tumuli is a long run of exposed rock on which are the petroglyphs of cattle. Today this part of the northern Sahara is a barren waste land with little vegetation or top soil. When the prehistoric artists made the cattle rock art the scene would have been very different and the little village that occupies the valley would, from 7,500-2,500BC, have been in the middle of Savanna.


The meaning of Palaeolithic art has been the focus of academic debate. It was thought initially that they were the doodles of shepherds or cow herds, but French prehistorian Jean Clottes concluded that “Rock art is rarely gratuitous or anecdotal” (UNESCO 1997). After much study Clottes concluded that there is a strong argument for believing that much of prehistoric art was in fact produced in the context of shamanic practices. The location rock art at the Taouz site high up above the scattered tumuli seem to indicate that they were put for some ritual purpose. The Tumuli next to them which is the highest tumuli and could well have been the burial place of elders of shaman.


The cattle rock art of Taouz also have two distinctive styles. The cattle with rounded backs appear to be older than the cattle etchings with flat backs. They typically have single horns of various shapes are depicted and some of the cattle of Taouz seem to have udders which is not typical of other Moroccan rock art cattle. Some of the cattle have male sex organs with patchy coat markings. Leg articulations are usually not shown. Some of the cattle have small match stick men standing on them.


The meanings and purpose of the rock art of Taouz is still open to much academic debate and research. It seems clear though that the depiction of animals was important to prehistoric man.


Where Is Tauz Rock Art?

 

Museopics the free museum History

 

We have no accurate coordinates for this site so best to get a guide from Merzouga.

 

 

 


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