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2019-07-04 16:29:01   •   ID: 2109

An Epipaleolithic Projectile Point from Adrar Bous

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Adrar Bous is a granite massif of 12 km diameter in the Aïr Mountains on the western edge of the Ténéré Desert, Niger. Here I display an 5,3 cm long typical Ounanian Point from the Region- for further information see here 1541 and here 1544 .

Archaeological research at Adrar Bous, has produced finds spanning the Late Acheulean, Aterian, Epipaleolithic through to the Ténérian and remains of contemporaneous non-Ténérian Pastoralist complexes- see 1019 and 1368 .

Most notable are extensive remains of ritualized feasting by specialized Tenerian cattle pastoralists.

The first Archaeological observations have been made by Commander Joubert before 1940; they were summarily published by R. Vaufrey, who was impressed by the quality, size and beauty of “Ténérian” artifacts, mainly made of high quality vitric green tuff, then called green jasper.

A better knowledge of the Adrar Bous sites was acquired during the Berliet expeditions to Ténéré in 1959 and 1960. Five decades after the Berliet missions, a major scientific mission brought new isights into the local stratigraphy, especially focusing on the differentiation between the Epipaleolithic and subsequent Pastoral complexes.

Ounanian Points, known since the 1930s are undoubtedly a marker of Epipaleolithic trans-Saharan contacts, human diffusions and replacements. They are found in the Eastern Sahara, in the Acacus, in northern Niger, in northern Mali, and to the north-east of Mauritania, where they are rare.

The age of these artifacts seems to be decreasing from east to west, especially if we include the Harif-Ounanian points from Egypt into consideration, which corresponds to the idea scientists have today of the first Holocene settlement of the Sahara.

The Epipaleolithic Ounanian is widely present in northern Mali, as shown by Raimbault (1994) who studied in particular the site of Telig, whose reliability is guaranteed by a burial under a lake level and the absence of any Neolithic component.

The context of the Telig deposit makes it possible to envisage a previous installation at the maximum of the wet Holocene phase around 8000 BP" (Raimbault 1994).

In a different style the Epipaleolithic of Foum Arguin, between the Wadi Draa, the Gulf of Arguin and the western foothills of the Adrar, could be related to the Ounanian. It was also the work of hunter-gatherers who did not know ceramics and agriculture followed the local Pastoral complex only 1,5 k.a. later. (Vernet 2004)- see: 1260

Suggested Reading: Robert Vernet: Le golfe d'Arguin de la préhistoire à l'histoire : littoral et plaines intérieures (via academia.edu)

Adrar Bous: archaeology of a central Saharan granitic ring complex in Niger /​ J. Desmond Clark et al. Tervuren, Belgium : Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2008.