An archaeological survey was carried out by a French team in November and December 2002 in the Somaliland Republic. The objective was the search for rock shelters and caves containing stratified archaeological infills capable of documenting the period when production economy appeared in this part of the Horn of Africa (circa 5th and 2nd millenia B.C.). The Las Geel site, a granite rock sheltering about ten shelters decorated with polychrome paintings, was discovered in the course of the survey. These paintings, in an excellent state of preservation, mainly represent humpless cows with large lyre-shaped or arched horns and the neck decorated with a kind of „plastron”. The cows are accompanied by stocky human figures with spindel-shape legs and raised arms. There are also some figures of canidae placed beside men, a single giraffe and some antelopes. The evident superposition of several graphic styles will no doubt make it possible to establish a chronology of Neolithic or Protohistoric rock art in this part of the Horn of Africa. Through the abundance of its paintings, their quality, the originality of the type of representation of bovines and human figures, the Las Geel site will henceforth take its place among the major Holocene sites of rock art in this region of Africa. A future mission planned for November 2003 will make it possible to undertake a detailed study of these paintings and their archaeological context. This note constitutes a preliminary presentation of this exceptional discovery.

In: Journal of African Archaeology

Among the many characteristics of the Senegalese and Gambian megalithic phenomenon, the deposition of pottery on the eastern edge of funerary structures is a recurrent practice present throughout the excavated sites. In the western part of the megalithic area, ceramics are generally located between the standing stone-circles and one or more frontal stones erected east of monuments. With the exception of morphological and decorative aspects, no technological studies have ever been conducted on the pottery from these deposits. Such an approach has now been taken to the analysis of around forty ceramics from deposits at the site of Wanar — about as many as are available from the deposits of all other Senegambian megalithic sites. The results demonstrate the range of technical choices mobilized in the shaping process. The high degree of finish on the vessels also suggests an important added value to the material culture which participated in the monuments’ ritual function.

In: Journal of African Archaeology