Site name

A deep shelter located on the left bank of the Wadi Athal fewer than 300 meters east of a guelta. Barich and Mori investigated the site in the 1970s revealing an archaeological deposit dating to the Middle Pastoral period. The archaeological material, in part still scattered on the surface, included pottery sherds, lithic artifacts, bone tools, and several remains of ostrich eggshells both in the form of fragments and beads. A couple of unfired clay figurines representing a dog and a gazelle were also found at this site. The shelter’s vault and rear wall contain dozens of paintings from the Pastoral period onward. The vault has at least three overlapping layers with a rich concentration of hand paintings: the oldest ones are negative white hand stencils that were later covered with positive red and white handprints. The lower part of the shelter includes a dense palimpsest of Horse/Bitriangular and Camel subjects representing herding and daily life scenes with mainly bitriangular red humans and cattle. Two yellow chariots were painted on the right near the current floor level. The first one, on the left, belongs to an ostrich hunting scene that includes a yellow and white ostrich and a red dog. The second chariot, on the right, is yellow and white and looks isolated and caught in a forward motion toward the right. At least two additional ostriches, one in red and the other in white, are painted on the left side of the wall. Several scenes with palms and other plant motifs are also visible on the right side of the wall. The paintings’ state of conservation is challenging: some of them still display very brilliant colors, while others are extremely faded. Additionally, the proliferation of Hymenoptera nests has covered and damaged some of the paintings. This is the case, for example, of an isolated scene covered by a nest limiting the visibility of the subjects, which would appear to represent an old Pastoral scene with at least two women.