Site name
Toponym(s) of the site

Uan Tabu


A large rock shelter located along the left bank of the middle course of the Wadi Teshuinat. The site is known as Uan Tabu and was discovered during Fabrizio Mori’s first archaeological explorations. The back wall and the vault are entirely covered with red and white Pastoral pictograms. A yellowish/green Round Heads anthropomorphic figure covers a large portion of the back wall while its bottom section is partially covered with Tifinagh inscriptions and a few small bitriangular humans. The lower part of the wall displays a cluster of more recent Camel motifs with highly faded human representations including a stylized horse with its rider. The Round Heads and Pastoral motifs were partially reproduced on a 12-chipboard composite panel in the Mori Collection. The surface conservation is critical owing to natural processes (erosion and Hymenoptera nests) and anthropogenic actions mostly related to reproduction and conservation (wetting, tracing with graphite, and use of thermoplastic resin). The site is crucial for the study of settlement patterns from the Aterian to the Pastoral Neolithic, as noted during the excavations by Tinè in the 1960s and by Garcea in the 1990s. These digs also revealed a profusion of artifacts associated with the preparation of pigments. The most relevant paintings are located on the upper section of the shelter, roughly 3 meters above the present floor below a natural dome. They represent a large herd, superbly painted. The area contains several scenes with fully painted red humans depicted in different poses between the herd and the right end side; unfortunately, they appear quite faded. Below the Pastoral scene, several large anthropomorphic figures in the Round Heads style are partially covered by later paintings.