ARCHAEOLOGY: L'Adrar Ahnet. Theodore Monod

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  • BOOK REVIEWS 523

    may have been caused by depopulation due to migration. In this respect reference may be permitted to Gilbert Sheldon, Roman Britain to Christian England (1932) as there is considerable evidence now to show that after the Emperor Septimius Severus permitted the legionaries to marry and live in quarters (in Britain) the population underwent a similar change to that of Nubia after the Arab invasion.

    A. E. ROBINSON

    LAdrar Ahnet. THEODORE MONOD. (Travaux et Memoires de 1Institut dEthno1- ogie XIX. 8 vo., 201 pp. Paris, 1932.) LAdrar Ahnet is a district in the Central Sahara, a block of ancient rock in the

    midst of drifting sands. I t is a notably arid region. It is true that there are in it one hundred wells or springs, but they are shallow and uncertain and the area measures 30,000 square kilometers. I ts archaeology has been almost unknown. We now have a study of it by Theodore Monod. There are districts of the Northern Sahara of which we have considerable archaeological detail. Our author attempts to bring his observations into relation with this so far as possible-either complementing it or suggesting new interpretations. His work has been conscientiously performed. The archaeological material which he here discusses is of four kinds-monuments, petroglyphs, stone implements, pottery. He presents a rather confused classification of his monuments, which range from stone signal heaps and goat-enclosures to tumuli and grave piles. The last are the most interesting. Of stone piles marking graves or forming part of them he excavated 43, of whcih 27 yielded human remains. He believes the others were originally graves, although they contained no bones. There are two chief types-basinas (simple heaps) and chouchets (where a somewhat carefully constructed tower or column of stones occur). In practically all the graves, the body was flexed and no especial rule of orientation was observed. Objects buried with the dead were uncommon. These graves appear to be Berber. Among Monods monuments, whether funerary or not, several curious types occur. Stone circles in considerable variety, some associated with graves; areas, crescentic and others, paved or laid with a sort of mosaic of small slabs; V-shaped constructions, where the stone pile extended from a higher, thicker, heap of stones, in two divergent lines suggesting a letter V (many of these only hint a t a V-shape, the divergent lines shrinking or lacking). True megaliths are not found. The petroglyphs are many. Thirty-six localities yielded 378 figures, besides 19 inscriptions in lifinar. They give no decisive age determination. Many are surely old, but figures of different age occur in one group and on one rock surface. Patina does not help much. It is true that it presents color differences-from the light, recent, fresh cutting to the dark gray of long exposure. At best it can only be said that the dark gray gives only a certain minimum, since once darkened, centuries no longer deepen the color. Students of petroglyphs of the Northern Sahara have suggested classifications, but Monod finds neither of the two suggested applicable to this area. He therefore recognizes in his material two groups-pre-cameline and cameline. The characters of the first are: remarkable abundance of bovine representations, elephants, giraffes, and (?) rhinoc- eros; neither camel nor horse; human figures are without the Libyan tuft, are

  • 524 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. S., 35, 1933

    armed with bow and throwing knife; no tijnar inscriptions. The character of the second are: no elephants, perhaps no giraffe; camels and horses abound; human figures have the Libyan tuft and are armed with a round shield, metal-pointed darts, and a sort of sword or dagger; inscriptions in tijnar; patina usually light. Monod believes the evidence shows three stages of this Saharan district-one bovine, one equo-cameline, one cameline, in that order. Today the district is impos- sible for bovine and equine life. Among the animals represented, beyond those al- ready mentioned, are antelope, gazelle, sheep, goats and ostrich. Interesting is the fact that the men of the second group are often steatopygic. Our author considers that the petroglyphs of the first group were made by a southern, agricultural, Negro population: the second group is Berber. If he is correct, a change has taken place in shield shape-the shield of modern Berbers being rectangular. The question of the disappearance of the horse, once occurring with the camel, is an interesting one. As concerns the lithic industry, stone implements occur everywhere. They may be scattered over the surface or concentrated at sites. Sites present two conditions -homogeneity, and heterogeneity, i.e., the specimens may represent one culture or several. Our author claims that ancient palaeolithic, mid-palaeolithic and neo- lithic are represented. At times a single locality shows coups de poing, Mousterian points, laurel-leaf blades, and polished haches, absolutely associated with no stratigraphic suggestion. He ascribes this, quite reasonably, to the winds; sands blown away have left the heavier stone and pottery objects absolutely in conjunc- tion and as surface finds. At one place only, a rock-shelter, was he able to find anything like stratification, and there it must be confessed that the evidence was somewhat confusing, Mousterian types occurring with pottery fragments. Monod connects his neolithic objects with the southern, agricultural-fishing Negroes. Pot- tery is found everywhere as sherds. I t has as yet been little studied and our author ,believes it deserves attention. He considers separately-modern, from the rock- shelter, from tumuli, ancient surface found sherds. Of the last he says: this Saharan ancient pottery is without doubt Negro. His whole evidence seems then to show two populations, which in the past have occupied this territory. The older, a Southern agricultural Negro people, pressing up from the south into an area which then permitted a mode of life now impossible there; the newer, a Berber nomadic people, formerly using both horse and camel but later becoming a pre-eminently camel-using folk. An appendix gives measurements taken on the bones from the graves. There are many illustrations, maps, and a voluminous biography covering all the archaeological work so far done in the great desert.

    FREDERICK STARR

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