North African Prehistoric Cultures

Mesolithic North Africa 7,000 to 5,000 BCE

CAPSIAN NORTH AFRICA
7000 - 5000 BCE
Capsian sites defined by their shell-mounds. Large areas of land snail shells, up to a meter thick and as large as 200 meters square, are the result of sheet flooding typical of the Maghreb, covering Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The rammadiyat, as the shell mounds are known in Tunisian, consist of black to gray earth, ashes and stone mingled with shell material. They tend to be open-air sites and often contain graves. The mounds are usually barren of animal bones, but rich in implements.

Mechta El Arbi, Algeria
The site at Mechta El Arbi, as with many mesolithic North African sites, is defined by its shell-mound. Large areas of land snail shells, up to a meter thick and as large as 200 meters square, are the result of sheet flooding typical of the Maghreb, covering Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The rammadiyat, as the shell mounds are known in Tunisian, consist of black to gray earth, ashes and stone mingled with shell material (seen in one of the examples below). They tend to be open-air sites and often contain graves. The mounds are usually barren of animal bones, but rich in implements. These sites date to the Capsian period, or about 7000 to 6500 BCE.

Grotte des Ours, Algeria
The Grotte des Ours, or "Cave of the Bears", is located near Constantine in Algeria. It was excavated by A. DeBruge and yielded remains from the Capsian period of North African prehistory, about 7000 to 6500 BCE.

Neolithic North Africa 5,000 to 3,000 BCE

Faiyum Oasis, Egypt
The Faiyum Oasis lies about 100 kilometers southwest of Cairo. A series of terraced beaches correspond to a series of cultures which inhabited the area. The site shows evidence of nearly continuous occupation since Acheulian times, about 1 million years ago. The artifacts in the Logan Collections date to the "Faiyum Neolithic" period, approximately 4200 - 3800 BCE.