Art and Civilizations in the Sahara during prehistoric times

This UISPP Commission, founded following a proposal by Gabriel Camps and Eduardo Ripoll Perelló back in 1991, has as its main aim to update and increase knowledge of Saharan societies within their environmental contexts and gain further insights into their rock art. From a geographical point of view, the Commission considers the Sahara region in its maximum extension, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Within this context, the Commission aims to provide an overview of the research carried out in this area, and to promote periodic meetings for the circulation and exchange of information on key issues such as Holocene climate and environment, cultural interactions, rock art and the cognitive world of North African regions during prehistory.

Forthcoming: One of the main themes of debate is the Neolithization of Africa in the area between the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. On this issue in the framework of the last UISPP Congress in Burgos (September 2014), the Commission has organized the workshop "The Neolithic from the Sahara to the Southern Mediterranean coast: A review of the most recent research". The proceedings of the Workshop, as a special issue of the journal Quaternary International (edited by Giulio Lucarini, the Commission's secretary) will be available in the coming months. On the same subject, in collaboration with the ISMEO (International Association for the Study of the Mediterranean and the East), the Commission organizes the Symposium "Prehistory of Food - The ongoing research in Africa and Asia", which will be held in Rome, May 2016. The environment, the food and nutrition have represented and represent some of the main themes of the archaeological investigation whose results have made a fundamental contribution to the knowledge of food production processes, of the origin and spread of agriculture, of the animals’ breeding. In recent years, thanks to the modern laboratory techniques, studies on the origins of food production have been greatly enhanced by those regarding the associated stone tools, the function of the containers and the nature of the resources used. Therefore the Conference in Rome will include contributions according to two research approaches: a) studies and problems related to the direct archeological record of plants and animals; b) studies of phases, transformation modalities, and indirect evidence about the consumption of primary resources.


BARICH B. E.E.,TILLET T.,STRIEDTER K.H. (Eds.) 2005 - Hunters vs.Pastoralists in the Sahara: Material Culture and Symbolic Aspects. BAR Int.Ser.1338, Commission XXV de l'UISPP. Oxford: Archeopress (United Kingdom).

LUCARINI G. (Ed.), 2016 - The Neolithic from the Sahara to the Southern Mediterranean coast: A review of the most recent research, Quaternary International, Special Issue.


SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DYNAMICS IN NORTH AFRICA DURING THE HOLOCENE - Editors: Giulio Lucarini and Jörg Linstädter - Read it now


September 23rd, 2017: Workshop “African Archaeology: the last ten years” organized by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University. Paper: G.Lucarini, B.E. Barich, G.Barker ” On the road to recovery: The last 10 years of North African archaeology”;

November 14th, 2017: Conference “Lithic Industries In Ancient Egypt From The Neolithic and Dynastic Periods (IFAO, Cairo, Egypt)”. Paper: G.Lucarini: “Gluten-free food in North Africa 8000 years ago. New data from functional analysis of stone tools”;

December 7th-9th, 2017: Conference at the Italian Institute of Culture, Cairo “ Italian Archaeology in Egypt and MENA Countries”. G.Lucarini, B.E.Barich, M.A.Hamdan: “Transregional connection between Sahara and Mediterranean”.

PRESIDENT: B.E.BARICH , Sapienza University and ISMEO, Rome SECRETARY: G.LUCARINI, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Cambridge and ISMEO, Rome