Central Saharan rock art: Considering the kettles and cupules (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: August 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments, Volume 143
Author(s): Jitka Soukopova
All the main Central Saharan mountainous massifs present rock art from various periods, stretching from prehistory until the recent historical era. The paintings and engravings have been documented, described, and classified into the chronological-stylistic groups. However, a special group of carvings called kettles and cupules have been given little or no attention in the rock art studies. Since these artificial formations are abundantly present in the Central Sahara their systematic study is needed.After a short presentation of the Saharan rock art groups, this paper examines kettles and cupules situated in the territory dominated by the earliest paintings called Round Heads, in the mountains of the Algerian Tassili, Algerian Tadrart and the Libyan Acacus. The results of the author's prolonged fieldwork are presented here, namely the quantity and distribution of kettles/cupules in the study area, their presumed relationship to the Round Head paintings, and their possible function.