Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Wet Sahara

Alice C. Linsley

The Proto-Saharans were river peoples who shared many common beliefs, customs and symbols. Their civilization was at its peak between 10,000 and 4000 BC when the Sahara was wet. During this period, called the African Aqualithic, the major water systems connected the Nile and Central Africa. The historian Roland Oliver describes the Green Sahara as follows:

"[In] the highlands of the central Sahara beyond the Libyan desert,... in the great massifs of the Tibesti and the Hoggar, the mountaintops, today bare rock, were covered at this period with forests of oak and walnut, lime, alder and elm. The lower slopes, together with those of the supporting bastions — the Tassili and the Acacus to the north, Ennedi and Air to the south — carried olive, juniper and Aleppo pine. In the valleys, perennially flowing rivers teemed with fish and were bordered by seed-bearing grasslands."

The black mahogany Dufuna dugout was found in the Sudan buried 16 feet under clays and sands whose alternating sequence showed evidence of deposition in standing and flowing water. The dugout is 8000 years old. By comparison, Egypt's oldest boat is only about 5000 years old. Peter Breunig (University of Frankfurt) wrote this description of the Dufuna boat:

“The bow and stern are both carefully worked to points, giving the boat a notably more elegant form”, compared to “the dugout made of conifer wood from Pesse in the Netherlands, whose blunt ends and thick sides seem crude”. Judging by stylistic sophistication, Breunig reasons that, “It is highly probable that the Dufuna boat does not represent the beginning of a tradition, but had already undergone a long development, and that the origins of water transport in Africa lie even further back in time.”

African Sheer Zone
Gray areas are interconnected water systems

The Sahara was once green. Most rivers in central Africa drained through the Congo River system into the Atlantic Ocean, and not through the Nile River into the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient times, there was great commerce along the interconnected river systems that extended from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean. Rock paintings in the Sahara show people moving cattle on boats.

Examples of sickle, incurved sickle, square, incurved square and flared boat types as found on the prehistoric rock art of the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt.

The evidence of Genesis points to Africa as the point of origin of  Abraham's cattle-herding Proto-Saharan ancestors (Sumerians). The shrine city of Nekhen on the Nile dates to 3500 BC and was an early site of Horite Hebrew worship. It has a twin city on the opposite side of the river.

The aquatic civilization of middle Africa has been the subject of interest after archaeologists have found 9,000 year fish bones, harpoons, and pottery along dried river and lake beds.

Alex Wilshaw describes the changes that took place in middle Africa and along the Mega-Nile Valley.
The Late-Pleistocene/Holocene period was characterised by wet and dry phases (pluvials and interpluvials) that caused a series of associated changes in lake levels; these changes ranged from full lake overflow (when the lakes of Nakuru and Elmenteita formed a single body of water) to complete desiccation, which resulted in an archaeological hiatus between 6.0 and 4.0 thousand years ago (kya). Within the lake basins, there are three different types of ecologies that exist in bands at different altitudinal levels – savannah (lowland), bush-woodland (mid-range) and montane-forest (highland). The climatic changes caused these ecological bands to migrate altitudinally; wet phases led to the expansion of bush and montane-forest into lowland areas, and arid phases saw the expansion of savannah lands to higher altitudes. (From here.)

This video tells the story of how the Sahara sustained life and how it came to be a desert.

Related reading:  Climate Change and the Book of Genesis; Water Systems Connected Nile and Central Africa; When the Sahara Was Wet; Sudan is Archaeologically Rich; 70,000 Year Settlement in the SudanThe Lithic Traditions of Late Pleistocene settlement at Afad, Sudan by Piotr OsypiƄski; Boats and Cows of the Proto-Saharans; Cemetery Dates to Time Before Noah; African Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant


Anonymous said...

Kind of 'Gee whiz' like you would expect such commentary, but seems to be backed up by serious science, and much in line with your hypothesis,Alice, about the origin of our 'Abrahamic' faiths in your blog.
thank you very much for sharing this and I'm passing the video on to some of my friends.
Jim Morgan
olympia WA

Alice Linsley said...

Don't you love it when the sciences come to a consensus!