Thursday, January 1, 1998

Algeria (c. 8000 BC) - Dancers - Function

The Tassili n'Ajjer is a mountain range in the Sahara desert in southeast Algeria. It extends about 500 km from 26°20′N, 5°00′E east-south-east to 24°00′N, 10°00′E, and the highest point is Adrar Afao, 2158 m, at 25°10′N, 8°11′E.

The literal English translation of the Berber name is "Plateau of the Rivers" referring to a time when the climate was repeatedly far wetter than today.

The nearest town is Djanet, about 10 km southwest of the range.

Much of the range, including the cypresses and archaeological sites, is protected in a National park, Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, named the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park.

Cupressus dupreziana, the Saharan Cypress, is a very rare coniferous tree native to the Tassili n'Ajjer mountains in the central Sahara Desert, southeast Algeria, where it forms a unique population of trees hundreds of kilometres from any other trees. There are only 233 specimens of this critically endangered species, the largest about 22 m tall. The majority are very old, estimated to be over 2000 years old, with very little regeneration due to the increasing desertification of the Sahara. Rainfall totals in the area are estimated to be about 30 mm annually. The largest one is named Tin-Balalan is believed to be the oldest tarout tress with a circumference of 12 meters or 36 feet.

The range is composed largely of sandstone. Erosion in the area has resulted in nearly 300 natural rock arches being formed, along with many other spectacular landforms.

Because of the altitude and the water-holding properties of the sandstone, the vegetation is somewhat richer than the surrounding desert; it includes a very scattered woodland of the endangered endemic species Saharan Cypress and Saharan Myrtle in the higher eastern half of the range.

The range is also noted for its prehistoric rock paintings and other ancient archaeological sites, dating from neolithic times when the local climate was much moister, with savannah rather than desert.

Neolithic culture appeared in the Levant (Jericho, modern-day West Bank) about 8500 BC. It developed directly from the Epipaleolithic Natufian culture in the region, whose people pioneered wild cereal use, which then evolved into true farming. The Natufians can thus be called "proto-Neolithic" (11,000–8500 BC). As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, and a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas forced people to develop farming.

The Younger Dryas stadial, named after the alpine / tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, and also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a brief (approximately 1300 ± 70 years) cold climate period following the Bölling/Allerød interstadial at the end of the Pleistocene between approximately 10,800 to 9,500 years BC, and preceding the Preboreal of the early Holocene.

By 8000 BC farming communities had spread to Anatolia, North Africa, and North Mesopotamia.

The art of the Tassili n'Ajjer depicts herds of cattle, large wild animals including crocodiles, and human activities such as hunting and dancing.

[Algeria - Dance Music]

Music functions in a variety of arenas, including the realms of

















[1998 Yurok California / 1998 Algeria Dancers / 1997 Cameroon]