This article describes the research questions and presents the initial
This article describes the research questions and presents the initial
The Wadi Draa runs north-west to south-east for nearly 300 km from the Anti-Atlas Mountains to the edge of the Sahara proper, before turning to run from east to west for a further 600 km to reach the Atlantic. The imposing mountain backdrop of the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas ranges to the north provides sufficient snowmelt and rainfall run-off to make the Wadi Draa the only perennial river that runs into the Sahara from the north. However, even prior to the installation of a modern dam near Ouarzazate, it was only in exceptional years that the flow actually reached the ocean c. 900 km from its headwaters (this most recently happened after the heavy rains in late November 2014 [Jacques-Meunié 1982: 144]). The Middle Draa corresponds to the c. 200 km sector where the river flows in a wide valley, with extensive oasis development alongside (see Fig. 2). The Draa valley is hemmed in to the east and west by steep escarpments and there are several ‘pinch-points’ along the valley where access to the next stretch of the valley can be controlled. These effectively divide the oasis into a series of palmerie zones from north-west to south-east: Mezguita, Tinzouline, Ternata, Fezwata, Ktawa and Mhamid (Jacques-Meunié 1982: 143-146 – see Fig. 3). Overall, this is one of the largest and richest oasis belts in the Sahara. While the great Moroccan centre of medieval Saharan trade was some way to the east at Sijilmasa in the Tafilalat oasis belt (Capel forthcoming; Messier & Miller 2015), the Wadi Draa has historically been an important secondary corridor for caravans coming from the south to access the Atlas passes and reach Marrakesh.
Despite the fact that it is one of the most important of Saharan oases, the Wadi Draa has not hitherto received detailed archaeological study and comparatively little has been published on its heritage (see Zaïnabi 2004). The largest town, Zagora, lies halfway along the middle section of the wadi at a strategic mountain pass. The Almoravid town and fortress at Zagora were surveyed in the 1950s by Meunié & Allain (1956) and small-scale excavations were made approximately 30 years ago, but these are not published. There are a number of well-known rock art sites, including a large corpus of horse and rider/hunting scenes with Tifinagh inscriptions close to Tinzouline (for example, Glory et al. 1955; Pichler 2000; Simoneau 1972a; 1972b). Finally, the wadi is well known for its several hundred pisé fortified sites, known as qsur or kasbahs, mostly undated but presumed to be of post-1600 construction. Many of these have been partially planned, but not fully published (Kölbl et al. 2003).
Preliminary satellite remote sensing located extensive archaeological remains of hundreds of sites including hilltop and oasis settlements, cairn cemeteries of pre-Islamic type, irrigation systems and small dispersed settlements. While some of the sites were evidently of medieval and early modern date, some of the hillforts and burial types seemed to represent an earlier phase of habitation and activity and accordingly potentially shed light on key research questions about the nature, economic basis and changes of society of the period 1000
The overall scope of the project involves carrying out survey between Agdz and Mhamid (the northern and southern extremities of the Middle Draa oasis belt), with a desire to sample as wide a range of site types as possible and to include representative examples of all periods. Since the project is informed by analysis of satellite imagery and preliminary identification of many sites visible as standing monuments on the imagery, its primary chronological focus is thus on the (proto-)historical periods, rather than deep prehistory. However, the traces of lithics and rock art are being recorded whenever encountered and it is anticipated that the project will also build up important records of prehistoric activity in the region. A key desideratum is to establish a baseline on the regional chronology, both through direct study of ceramic material collected from the sites visited, but also supported by a programme of absolute dating of organic materials extracted from walls, surfaces and small sondages at many of these sites. Following on from the previous work by Mattingly (2003; 2013) in southern Libya on a Saharan civilisation called the Garamantes, a starting point for the new project was to assess whether southern Morocco might also yield evidence of extensive oasis development in the Early Historic period. The wide distribution of burial tumuli and hilltop settlements of several distinctive morphologies throughout the Draa valley encouraged the view that this was a hypothesis that could be tested by closer archaeological examination of these and related sites. A further important objective was to carry out on-the-ground evaluations of sites that we had already identified to be undergoing (or at high risk of) damage. This aspect of the work also relates to a parallel project on Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (
The overall aim of the fieldwork is to sample a wide range of settlements, funerary monuments, irrigation works and other site types in order to produce a baseline for future archaeological research. To achieve this aim, the survey methodology was designed in response to the nature of archaeological remains in this region, with many upstanding features and little in the way of overlying deposits (our methods were in part derived from previous surveys by the authors in the central Sahara [Sterry & Mattingly 2011]). On the other hand, we recognise that within the modern oasis belt, earlier phases of activity will be to a greater or lesser extent obliterated or overlain by more recent activity. The earliest agricultural development probably lay close to the banks of the Draa river and will most likely be elusive archaeologically. However, sites (funerary areas and hilltop sites) on the periphery of the oasis should give a proxy indication of past activity and settlement within the area covered by modern palm groves.
The preliminary survey of the study zone was conducted through analysis of satellite scenes making use of high resolution imagery available via Google Earth and Bing Maps in combination with Landsat and
Survey strategy on the ground was kept flexible to permit different forms of recording, from brief reconnaissance visits (c. 30 minutes) to more in-depth studies over several days. The following approaches were routinely employed on site by the survey teams, which normally comprised 3-4 individuals:
- A detailed site sheet, recording archaeological features, general description, interpretation, damage and threats, and material culture.
- Photographic recording of features, masonry, viewsheds, etc.
- An annotated site plan.
- A ‘structured’ collection of all material from one or more 10 m2 circles whose position was fixed via a handheld
- A ‘grab’ collection of diagnostic material and small finds – rim sherds, decorated sherds, glazed sherds, beads, etc.
- A ‘feature’ collection of key groups of material associated with particular features, such as burnt animal bone on offering structures (again located via a
gpspoint). gpspoints on significant archaeological features, especially those not clearly visible on satellite imagery, e.g. gates in walls and rock art.
- Opportunistic sampling of organic material embedded into standing structures (mudbrick, pisé, mortar) or exposed occupation layers cut by gullies or rock fall (also located via a
- Structure-from-motion recording of distinctive archaeological features (tombs, buildings, irrigation canals, etc.) to create dense point clouds and 3D models. This was facilitated via the use of a self-levelling telescopic camera pole and a wireless connection to a tablet.
- Small-scale excavation in controlled test-pits (max. 1 × 1 m) down to bedrock/natural to obtain stratified organic samples for radiocarbon dating and for potential environmental analysis.
The project database was designed using the
In total, 166 sites have been visited and recorded by the field teams to date in a series of 11 different sub-zones of the Draa. Each site is designated by a three-letter code related to these sub-zones and a three-digit number (thus ZAG001 is the upper citadel on the summit of the mountain of Zagora by the modern town where the mission was based).
ams Radiocarbon Dating
In order to establish a firmer absolute chronology for the Draa valley and to help refine the ceramic typo-chronology outlined later in this report, the
Palaeolithic and Early Holocene Occupation
Early prehistoric human occupation in the Draa is attested by chance surface finds across the region, both in the valley and in the adjacent mountains. The earliest evidence, an Oldowan pebble chopper and an Acheulean proto-hand axe, both found in the valley close to Tamegroute (
Early Holocene evidence consists of a similarly sparse distribution of lithic flakes and debitage of demonstrably more recent age than the highly patinated Palaeolithic material. These included a few flint blades with lateral retouched notches. In the Kasr Bounou area (
The Wadi Draa is notable for the number and density of its non-Muslim burial monuments, primarily various forms of circular tumuli (for previous work, see Bokbot 1991; Jacques-Meunié 1958). Mapping of these from available satellite imagery had identified a total of at least 5600 cairn tombs in the Ktawa region alone before the season began (Fig. 5). Work was carried out in three zones:
Those tombs suspected of being of pre-medieval date were only rarely associated with pottery or other material culture (grinding stones were found near some). Almost all have been heavily robbed at some point in the past. Samples from two examples returned radiocarbon dates of 894-791 cal
Painted scenes have recently been reported from the interior walls of a corbelled tomb in the Foum Larjam area (Zaïnabi 2004: 40), adding to the interest and importance of the funerary monuments. The images of human figures with lances and animals strongly resemble the famous painted plaques from the funerary chapels at Jorf Torba to the east of the Draa in western Algeria (Reygasse 1950: 104-108; Camps 1984: 208-212; Lihoreau 1993). The painted Foum Larjam tomb was relocated and the presumed late antique date confirmed during our 2016 season. Work on the pre-Islamic cemeteries will be a major component of the project as it develops.
Early Historic Hilltop Settlements
A very distinctive category of sites in the Wadi Draa comprises a range of perched hilltop sites that seem to span a period from the early first millennim
The Northern and Central Zones of the Middle Draa: Foum Chenna (TIN001), Assif Ouiggane (TIN015), TAM001, TAK006
The wadi emerging from the hills to the west of Tinzouline at Foum Chenna is famous for a dense concentration of rock art on the vertical rock faces lining its ‘entrance’ (Fig. 9, TIN012). Another wadi a short distance to the south has also yielded similar engravings on its rock walls (TIN027/028) (Simoneau 1972b: 27-36). At both sites, there is an emphasis on imagery of the horse and of armed horsemen (typically with a small circular shield and lance), though other animals feature, such as ibex, dogs, lions, ostriches, camels etc. Although both sites have been described before (cf. Simoneau 1972b: 29), scholars have not previously noted that each rock art complex is closely connected with an associated fortified hilltop site (Fig. 10, TIN001 at Foum Chenna and TIN015 at the more southerly site of Assif Ouiggane). On a flat-iron hill facing the Draa, TIN001 is a classic perched site protected by a series of substantial drystone walls, each with a single gateway. The walled core of the site comprises a series of enclosures and c. 8-10 buildings leading off a central alleyway that ran to the highest point of the hill, which was left empty apart from a possible cairn at the top. There are at least two phases of construction visible: the earliest consists of loosely coursed boulders and the second of drystone slab masonry. A number of horse engravings were found built into the structures of the settlement implying a close relation between the rock art and the people of this site.
TIN015 shares some similarities of layout, with a lower outer enclosure that contained a few vestigial traces of structures and a middle zone entered through a gate in a second wall, where most of the habitation seems to have been concentrated. A central road again led up through the settlement to a third area on the highest part of the site that was empty of structures, but which was covered in rock art on natural rock surfaces and many boulders. As at TIN001, the vast majority of the images depict horses (and sometimes their riders). The highly structured placement of the rock art imagery in relation to the settlement strongly supports the view that the two activities were at least in part contemporaneous.
Further to the north, TAM001 is a hilltop settlement with an almost identical position and layout (but with no rock art). Progression up the hill is interrupted by a series of four further large walls, each punctuated by a gate, serving to divide the hillside into large enclosures in which livestock were possibly kept. The main occupation site is at the uppermost (western) end and surrounded by an enceinte. Within the main settlement, the structures were built against one another in four or five clusters in the lower (eastern) part; above this where the bedrock is more prominent, the structures were smaller and situated independently, and more sparsely, with some of them appearing to have served as storage units.
To the south, in the Takat pass, there is a large settlement, TAK006, high on a plateau protected by two sets of cliffs and a number of walls and gates. Unlike the above sites there are clear signs of overlain medieval and later activity (described below), but the basic form of construction is the same – a series of enclosures containing smaller buildings with drystone walls and an open area at the highest point of the hill (this time in the centre).
Radiocarbon samples were taken from occupation layers at depths of 0.4-0.6 m and provided dates from around the fourth-sixth centuries
The Southern Zone of the Middle Draa: LAR002 and LAR006
Two other early historic hillforts have been examined at Foum Larjam. LAR006 is a hillfort with similarities to the above group with enclosures, a central alley and a focus at the highest point. At some point it was evidently abandoned for habitation and given over to funerary use. Around 50 distinctive high conical corbel cairns (Type 4) were subsequently constructed all over the top of the hillfort – evidently reusing much stone from the earlier enclosures and buildings, which survive only as vestigial traces. A sample from the lower fill within the burial cist of one of these tombs was dated to cal
LAR002 appears to be of slightly later date with a sequence of dates from organic deposits indicating that it was occupied from at least cal
The radiocarbon dates for LAR002 and the other sites described in this section confirm that these sites date to the mid-first millennium
Medieval ‘Towns’ and Fortified Centres in the Passes
As already noted, a key characteristic of the Wadi Draa is the presence of a series of gorges and narrowings along the length of the valley. These have been key locations across time for the control of movement, trade and defence. Particularly striking are a number of large and complex walled towns which were invariably split into a high elevation citadel and a lower-level settlement (either on the slopes or on an accessible shelf) next to the Draa. A combination of glazed ceramics and radiocarbon dates indicate that they date roughly to the tenth-thirteenth centuries
Zagora (ZAG001 + ZAG002)
The modern town of Zagora sits between the Ternata and Fezwata oasis basins, under the imposing massif of Jabal Zagora which forces the Draa to take a sharp westward bend before continuing on its southward course (Fig. 2). There are two walled medieval sites of Zagora, both situated on this mountain – ZAG001 is the fortress perched on the very summit, with ZAG002 constructed on the northern face of the escarpment (Figs 11 and 12). Both sites were exceptionally well preserved until recently and a preliminary plan was drawn from satellite imagery, but inspection on the ground revealed significant recent degradation of these key monuments. The damage to ZAG001 is particularly severe due to the systematic demolition of upstanding buildings for their building stone.
The sites do not appear to have been exactly contemporary but the fact that the walls of the lower town were connected to the walls of the upper town at some point, suggests that there was at least some overlap of use. Radiocarbon dates from the walls of both the upper and lower town have yielded a set of dates of the eleventh-early twelfth century, consistent with an Almoravid date, but with some evidence of earlier and later occupation in the centuries either side (Fig. 13). Interestingly, the latest dates currently come from the citadel site, which certainly extended well into the Almohad era and possibly later in the thirteenth century. In any event, the traditional association of these sites with the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties looks correct (cf. Meunié & Allain 1956), though it remains to be seen how far they may have continued under the Merinids (or Wattasids). Among the structures still-standing within the lower town are a series of large tomb monuments, one of which has been dated to cal
Another interesting discovery during the season was the identification of pottery kilns in and around an enclosure (ZAG015) just to the east of the town walls of ZAG002. These evidently produced the wide range of handmade forms that have been found at the site. No evidence has been noted as yet for the local production of fineware and glazed ware (see pottery section below).
According to the local manuscript tradition, the site of Tidri was the first Jewish settlement in this part of the Sahara, and dates back to the late antique and medieval period though different traditions give an even earlier foundation date (Jacques-Meunié 1982: 178-88). Its location is strategic in that it dominates the narrow pass through Jabal Beni Selmane, south of which the Draa makes its decisive turn to flow towards the west – in other words, Tidri sits at the apex of the ‘coude du Draa’. The settlement here comprises several discreet elements. Irhir n Tidri is a fortified hilltop settlement (LAR004) overlooking two passes from the Ktawa to the Mhamid basins (Figs 14 and 15). It was defended on its western flank by a wall with at least six square towers faced with slabs and containing a very hard pisé core (4 m thick). Access to the upper site was gained via a monumental dogleg gateway on the south-west corner marked by two large square towers. A second access point was located to the east via a narrow gateway that led down a steep slope to a lower area of the site (LAR025) and eventually to the wadi floor. This path and LAR025 was protected by a further linear stone-faced pisé wall (dated to cal
The upper settlement was divided into a series of compounds leading off a central street, each consisting of rectangular rooms of different sizes. The largest compounds are located in the west sector of the site and there is a central building with a very large courtyard which may be significant. There are at least two phases of occupation, the second visible in repairs and later huts on the southern side of the site. Below and to the south of the defended site (LAR004/025) were a further two small settlements comprising of c. 45 scattered single-room and multi-room drystone structures (LAR003 and LAR013). A test-trench demonstrated that the structures of LAR003 served as dwellings, though other uses cannot be excluded and a sample from occupation material indicate a roughly contemporary date of cal
Imi n Takat n Draa (
In the pass between the Fezwata (Tamegroute) and Ktawa basins of the Wadi Draa is a dense complex of fortified settlements and associated features (Fig. 16). The pass of Imi n Takat is a relatively narrow defile, with the river in its centre and numerous fortified sites on either bank and, on the east side, extending far up the impregnable looking scarps of Jabal Beni (Jacques-Meunié 1982: 141-144 for several mentions of the pass as separating the Fezwata and Ktawa oasis areas, but no references to the sites controlling this key passage obligé). The earliest of these is a walled hilltop site TAK006, described above. This site clearly had more than one phase of development. The plateau retained its importance into the medieval period with a group of three walls across the spur to the north. This group (TAK009) consists of a large 3-4 m wide drystone slab wall, a seven course pisé wall with stone slab mortared pillars, and finally a stone slab (mortared) wall. On the south-west tip there is a small mosque (4.5 by 5 m) with a miḥrāb facing south-south-east as is common for early mosques in southern Morocco (Bonine 1990). Furthermore, the ceramics from across the site suggest multiple phases and include both wheelmade and painted examples.
Of certain medieval date, TAK004 is an urban-scale settlement running for c. 0.5 km along the east side of the pass below TAK006. It was constructed on the lower slope, with defensive stone walls (1.5 m wide) demarcating the north and south ends of the settlement, the cliff-like escarpment on the east side and a now vanished wall on the river side, almost certainly lost in modern road construction here. The interior of the site comprises over 500 rectilinear structures and over 50 later sub-circular buildings, which were frequently built against the earlier structures. A network of streets is also visible in some areas, such as in the northern part of the site where a stretch of c. 100 m with several smaller branches could be identified. Unfortunately our only dating sample from TAK004 proved to be of intrusive modern origin, though the limited pottery recovered is consistent with a medieval date.
TAK004 seems to be closely related to, and contemporary with, a smaller and unwalled settlement, TAK005, which is located on an intermediate terrace of the hill between TAK004 and TAK006. There is, however, no discernible route connecting TAK004 and TAK005, which are separated by the near-vertical cliff face of Jabal Beni. A terraced field system/enclosures of unknown date, again bordered by a large drystone boundary wall, are found to the north of TAK004 with a series of later rectilinear buildings built on their foundations (TAK033).
Several other smaller stone-built fortified sites have also been examined and dated (Fig. 17, including: a fortified communal granary (TAK013 – cal
Oasis Settlement, Agriculture and Water Management
The archaeology of the oasis is another key theme of our research, though for large parts of the Wadi Draa valley, the thriving modern oasis and its active irrigation canals and water distribution systems effectively mask the earlier phases of development. In seeking to investigate earlier settlement, organisation of land and irrigation works and so on, we have focused on a few locations in the valley where the oasis has been abandoned before the early modern age and the distinctive pisé fortified villages (kasbahs) of that period are absent.
Kasr Bounou Area (
To the east of Mhamid, the oasis has been partially overwhelmed by sand dunes and has been abandoned. From the satellite imagery we identified an area on the south terrace of the Draa that was relatively open and where extensive traces of past settlements, gardens and irrigation canals and smaller distribution channels were plainly visible (Fig. 18). The main visible settlements here are fortified sites (qsur) built in mudbrick (Fig. 19). These appear from the associated pottery to be medieval. The radiocarbon dates now available suggest that the earliest qasr may have been built as early as the eighth century
Several major canal systems flow through the former oasis from the north. As part of this preliminary survey, we mapped the canals from satellite imagery and excavated sections in part of the main canal (BOU010) and an associated offtake/field lateral. The main canal of BOU010 delivered water to an extensive network of gardens (BOU004), where the main canals split into sub-main and smaller field lateral channels. These supplied water to a layout of small fields/gardens which are also apparent in the satellite imagery, possibly even when water levels around Mhamid were depleted. Water flow into separate canals/laterals may have been controlled by the expedient of removing/re-building earth bunds so that water could flood into each small plot; no remains of obvious sluice-like devices were identified.
Traces of similar relict canals and a foggara (underground water channels similar to the Persian qanat, see Wilson & Mattingly in Mattingly 2003) are apparent south of the
The pottery analysis aimed to build up a basic chronological framework into which to fit the sites investigated. No previous pottery research is reported from the Draa region, thus the only available comparative data are from Sijilmasa and from sites in northern Morocco or closer to the Atlantic coast (see in particular Cressier & Fentress 2010). Four broad pottery phases, supported by radiocarbon dates, were identified and sites relating mainly to one of these phases were prioritised for study in detail: fourth to sixth centuries
At TIN015 the pottery collected consisted mainly of medium-size cooking pots with lateral grips or a cord-shaped application (cordon) on the upper part of the body or very close to the rim band (Fig. 20a). Most of the examples are in high relief and are decorated with spaced finger impressions creating alternate knobs. In a few cases the corded application is less high relief and so are the impressions/knobs. Some bowls or open forms are reported as well (Fig. 21a-l). Fabrics are all coarse with medium-to-large minerals inclusions, sub-rounded-to-flattish in shape, in a medium-to-high percentage in the paste. No detailed analysis has been done yet, but those mineral inclusions appear to be shale/mudstone, sandstone and basalt. The local geology suggests sources of raw materials were local. Although many of the sherds recorded are small and abraded on the surface, the pinching technique predominated in the shaping process. However, it is not clear which other techniques were used in combination with pinching. Surfaces seem mainly to have been finished by smoothing or self-slipping, but again the state of preservation of most of them does not allow further description. However, it can be stated that that vessels were quite roughly shaped and finished.
The pottery assemblage from LAR002 strongly resembled the aforementioned one (indeed part of it is probably contemporary with TIN015), with the addition of closed forms, mainly painted jars with handles, which had the same coarse mineral-tempered fabric of the local productions (see Fig. 21p). A few wheel-made fine ware products were also recovered and may be among the earliest imports in the region. Fabrics were untempered and pink-to-light brown in colour; surfaces were smoothed or glazed. At ZAG001 cooking pots with corded application and impressed decorations were still produced, this time also with a very thick and large variant (similar to Fig. 21n-o). A trend towards simplification of the applied cordon decoration is visible, meaning that at this point most of them were almost flat with fingernail impressions (Fig. 21f-i). Fabrics were again coarse and mineral tempered. Fine ware (Fig. 21q-s) and glazed wares (Fig. 21t) were now quite common, but rarely in the majority at a given site. Some of them were made with a very fine, untempered, clay incorporating tiny coloured mineral inclusions similar to those encountered in the fabrics of the hand-made wares, suggesting by then a local production of part of the fine and glazed vessels and the introduction of the wheel-made technology in the region. It is interesting to note the production of some more refined bowls or pots, which at first sight look like wheel-made imports, but on closer inspection reveal a fine-to-medium-coarse fabric with rock inclusions of the local tradition (Fig. 20c; Fig. 21h-j). These vessels, usually hand-made are typically decorated with a horizontal band of incised criss-cross pattern (Fig. 20c). The most recent pottery from site ZAG048 still has traditional pots with grips or corded applications as well the more simplified variants. Fine ware and glazed productions with modern-day forms are more common and for the most part locally made.
The structured survey collections of 10m2 provide an insight into the basic characteristics of ceramic assemblages from the Wadi Draa. A total of 143 circle collections located by
Metal and Metalworking
The survey has produced evidence for the use of metal at oasis sites (
The survey has produced a large amount of evidence for ostrich-shell beads and a small number of stone beads/amulets (the latter also found in graves). A concentration of ostrich bead making activity was noted in the
Lithic and Stone Finds
Compared to ceramics, stone artefacts recovered were fewer in number. Early Palaeolithic tools, together with a Middle Palaeolithic Aterian point were collected at TMG002 in the valley bottom; Middle Palaeolithic evidence was also found scattered throughout the concession area. A small sample of blades and debitage, possibly Neolithic in date, were found in the
Two clusters of unusual stone objects, collected in two different locales in the
Several sites in the
The Middle Draa Project has already demonstrated the richness of the archaeological heritage of the valley. Sites have been surveyed from all the key areas of the Middle Draa, from the Agdz area to south of Foum Larjam. We have targeted different settlement types, ranging from the large urban centres, to smaller oasis villages, to hilltop sites on the periphery of the oasis, to pastoral encampments. We have started to catalogue the impressive evidence of funerary archaeology for both the pre-Islamic and medieval eras and have made some significant additions to the knowledge of rock art in the region, in particular demonstrating an association between the horse imagery and two hilltop settlements in the Tinzouline area. The survey has also yielded evidence of more remote prehistoric periods of activity, though our focus on sites with standing remains identified in the satellite image analysis means that these earlier periods have not yet been systematically explored.
The fieldwork has made a number of major discoveries that should change our picture of southern Morocco. Chief among these is the presence of major hilltop settlements that date to the late antique period, some of which may have been associated with oasis cultivators – though this economic orientation needs further excavation and sampling work to verify. The
The creation of secure typologies of pottery and other material culture will take some time and will need the support of more radiocarbon dates and larger scale excavations, but we have made an important start and demonstrated that significant morphological differences existed between the assemblages of different periods. Our studies of palaeoenvironment and of human and animal remains are at a very preliminary stage and have not been presented here. However, the potential for these data to significantly enhance our knowledge and understanding of the historic societies of the Draa should not be underestimated.
The project has also served to demonstrate the vulnerable state and endangered status of many sites of historical importance. In the Middle Draa valley modern development is intensifying, involving increased construction of buildings and infrastructure such as roads, canals and rubbish dumps. Some archaeological sites have been looted or robbed to obtain material for building, or demolished to make way for new structures. Increasing development has damaged archaeological sites and continues to threaten others. Recording sites through survey and excavation will not only allow a record of them to be made before they are destroyed, but will also support the development of measures designed to protect them. The Moroccan-
Funding for the
The personnel in the field were: Youssef Bokbot, Aurélie Cuénod, Corisande Fenwick, Maria Carmela Gatto, Katrien Janin, Andrew Lamb, David Mattingly, Niccolò Mugnai, Julia Nikolaus, Nick Ray, Louise Rayne and Martin Sterry, with Abdallah Fili due to study the Islamic glazed pottery post-season.
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Capel, C. . forthcoming At the Dawn of Sijilmasa: New historical focus on the process of emergence of a Saharan state and a caravan city. In: (eds.), . and Sterry, M. Mattingly, D.J. Trans-Sahara Archaeology Vol. 4( Series Editor D.J. Mattingly). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Society for Libyan Studies.
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