“The generation that followed did not have the same concerns; none of its members attempted to follow the example of the past generation. There was no longer anyone with the noble determination to get to know the great men of the world, or if there were some individuals consumed with this curiosity, they were few in number. From then on, there remained only vulgar minds given over to hatred, envy and discord, who took an interest only in things which did not concern them, gossip, slander, calumny of one’s neighbors, all those things which are the source of the worst of our troubles.”
Precolonial Black Africa ~ Cheikh Anta Diop
‘This video has been removed by the user, sorry about that’
Rats ! Here’s me.
So this fellow is born, in 1807, in this nice big house at Nice, or Nizza, beside the sea, where his family have a maritime business, and so he becomes a ship’s captain, and takes a cargo of oranges, 1833, to the other end of the Mediterranean, to the Sea of Azov, Russia.
There he meets another fellow, who is a member of a secret soceity of revolutionaries, dedicated to liberating Italy from Austrian domination. So he likes this idea and takes the oath and he’s in.
We’re talking about Garibaldi. In 1833-4 this revolutionary movement plotted and tried a bit of insurgency, but they were mostly caught and shot, and the thing failed, and Garibaldi, sentenced to death in absentia, fled to Tunis and then on to Brasil.
So, in Brasil he gets into more trouble and starts fighting for some guys who want a separate republic because they don’t like having to pay taxes to the Empire of Brasil on the cattle they raise or something.
And then he sees this incredible woman, and, well, you know how it is – or perhaps you don’t ? – he sort of melts into cosmic goo and whispers in her ear ‘You must be mine !’
Her name is Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro da Silva, born 1821, in Brazil’s southern Morrinhos, Rio Grande do Sul, a trading settlement and gaucho territory in the province of Santa Catarina.
Together with her father, she began taming wild horses as a child. Her mother had about ten kids, but seems her father died, so they were very poor, and she gets married off, age 14, to some fellow.
But he doesn’t matter anymore, because now she’s met this lunatic Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi who says ‘You must be mine !’
So, together they go to fight against the Empire of Brasil, in the Guerra dos Farrapos.
In the Battle of Curirtibanos, Garibaldi became separated from the front losing contact with Anita, who was captured by the rival group. In captivity the guards told Anita that Garibaldi had died, at which Anita was very distraught, as much for her loved one as for her child they were expecting that Garibaldi was not going to see, as she was pregnant. Anita asked if she could search among the dead in battle, but without finding him, this gave hope to Anita, who after a while crept up on a camp horse, mounted it and escaped at a gallop.
The soldiers chased her on the order of her superior with the order of her return, dead or alive, they were shooting and killed her horse. Anita then came upon the river Canoas into which she waded amazingly. The soldiers thought she would not survive and left her for dead. Anita spent four days wandering without food or drink in the woods, until she found a group of people who offered her food. Finally able to contact the rebels and was reunited with Garibaldi in Vacaria. A few months later their first child was born, Menotti (1840–1903), he was born with a skull deformity due to a blow that Anita received when she fell from her horse in the flight from the Brazilian camp.
So they have more adventures in South America and then
Anita accompanied Garibaldi and his red-shirted legionnaires back to Italy to join in the revolutions of 1848, where he fought against the forces of the Austrian Empire. In February 1849, Garibaldi joined in the defense of the newly-proclaimed Roman Republic against Neapolitan and French intervention aimed at restoration of the Papal State. Anita joined her husband in the defense of Rome, which fell to a French siege on June 30. She then fled from French and Austrian troops with the Garibaldian Legion. Pregnant and sick from malaria, she died on August 4, 1849 at 7:45 pm in the arms of her husband at Guiccioli Farm in Mandriole, near Ravenna, Italy, during the tragic retreat. Her body had to be hurriedly buried and was later dug up by a dog.
Anita Garibaldi dressed as a man.
So she is only 28, and she dies. After such vigorous brief life. And she along the way fitted in having four children.
And why have I told you all that ? Hahaha, how could I NOT tell you, it is such a good story ! It has to be re-told. They deserve to be remembered for shining brightly…. and it fell upon my path, so I had to bend down and pick it up, see… now, here… ANOTHER crazy woman…
….in 17 November 1867 she took part in the Battle of Mentana on the side of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Her left hand was broken twice by saber stabs; in addition, she experienced two hard missile wounds in her right shoulder and leg. Initially, she was thought killed but later was picked up at the battlefield. Blavatsky told Olcott that she was a volunteer at Mentana along with other European women.
On the beginning of 1868, when Blavatsky recovered from her wounds, she moved to Florence. Then she traveled to Northern Italy and the Balkans and further to Constantinople, India and Tibet.
And I was reading about Helena Blavatsky, because I wanted to know what she had written about The Book of Enoch in her various books, and I got waylaid by her biography, which is fairly amazing… which was how I got waylaid by Anita Garibaldi….
So that’s old, and aristocratic, and that’s Kiev, in what’s now the Ukraine, where, erm… well, no need to get further distracted and diverted, other than to mention that humans are still caught up in the tides of history, just as the Garibaldis were, and still playing revolutionary games and fighting over borders, but now this is all completely outdated, not least because of nuclear weaponry.
Rurik or Riurik (Old Church Slavonic: Рюрик, from Rørik, the Old East Norse form of the name Roderick; c.830 – c. 879) was a Varangian chieftain who gained control of Ladoga in 862, built the Holmgard settlement near Novgorod, and founded the Rurik Dynasty, which ruled Kievan Rus (and later Grand Duchy of Moscow and Tsardom of Russia) until the 17th century.
So Blavatsky did a fantastic job of collecting and collating all kinds of information from all around the world and gathering it together into a coherent picture. In retrospect, she was wildly over-confident in her pronouncements and assertions. But her work has to be seen in the context of the time, the 1800’s.
From the bits and pieces that I have read, I have gleaned some wonderful snippets, for example, that there were Chinese and Japanese versions of the Noah story. But there’s also plenty of nonsense, her timelines are hopeless, at least they are if one is guided by modern scientific estimations and calculations.
Her books are all here, along with a treasure trove of other stuff by fellow theosophists, the only problem being the massive amount of work involved with pushing it through ones’ mental sieve to sort out the valuable and interesting bits.
Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine is written in a very dense style, a wall of references and cross-references, for example :
OUR DIVINE INSTRUCTORS.
Now Atlantis and the Phlegyan isle are not the only record that is left of the deluge. China has also her tradition and the story of an island or continent, which it calls Ma-li-ga-si-ma, and which Kaempfer and Faber spell “Maurigosima,” for some mysterious phonetic reasons of their own. Kaempfer, in his “Japan” (Appendix, p. 13), gives the tradition: The island, owing to the iniquity of its giants, sinks to the bottom of the ocean, and Peiru-un, the king, the Chinese Noah, escapes alone with his family owing to a warning of the gods through two idols. It is that pious prince and his descendants who have peopled China. The Chinese traditions speak of the divine dynasties of Kings as much as those of any other nations.
Seems to me eminently reasonable that, at the beginning of the Holocene, as the glaciers melted and retreated and sea levels rose dramatically, coastlines changed rapidly, huge areas of land were inundated and that the humans alive then would have recorded these events in their stories and passed them down.
So, someone should go trawling through all the world’s mythologies and see what’s there. An interesting thing to do. No doubt it’s been done, and that’s where Graham Hancock and others find their inspiration.
Vol. 2, Page 366 THE SECRET DOCTRINE.
From Manu, Thot-Hermes, Oannes-Dagon, and Edris-Enoch, down to Plato and Panadores, all tell us of seven divine Dynasties, of seven Lemurian, and seven Atlantean divisions of the Earth; of the seven primitive and dual gods who descend from their celestial abode* and reign on Earth, teaching mankind Astronomy, Architecture, and all the other sciences that have come down to us. These Beings appear first as “gods” and Creators; then they merge in nascent man, to finally emerge as “divine-Kings and Rulers.” But this fact has been gradually forgotten. As Bosuage shows, the Egyptians themselves confessed that science flourished in their country only since Isis-Osiris, whom they continue to adore as gods, “though they had become Princes in human form.” And he adds of Osiris-Isis (the divine androgyne: — “It is said that this Prince (Isis-Osiris) built cities in Egypt, stopped the overflowing of the Nile; invented agriculture, the use of the vine, music, astronomy, and geometry.”
When Abul-Feda says in his “Historia Anteislamitica” that the Sabean language was established by Seth and Edris (Enoch) — he means by “Sabean language” astronomy.
In the “Melelwa Nohil” (MS. 47 in Nic. Cat.) Hermes is called the disciple of Agathodaemon. And in another account (See Col. Vyse’s 2nd Vol. of the “Pyramids of Ghizeh,” p. 364, MS. 785, Uri’s Cat.) Agathodaemon is mentioned as a “King of Egypt.” Celepas Geraldinus gives curious traditions about Henoch. He calls him the “divine giant.” In the “Book of the various names of the Nile,” the same author (the historian Ahmed-Ben-Yusouf Eltiphas) tells us of the belief among the Semitic Arabs that Seth (become later the Egyptian Typhon, Set), had been one of the seven angels (or Patriarchs in the Bible): then he became a mortal and Adam’s son, after which he communicated the gift of prophecy and astronomical science to Jared, who passed it to his son Henoch. But Henoch (Idris) “the author of thirty books, was Sabaean by origin” (i.e., belonging to the Saba, “a Host”); “having established the rites and ceremonies of primitive worship, he went to the East, where he constructed 140 cities, of which Edessa was the least important, then returned to Egypt where he became its King.” Thus, he is identified with Hermes. But there were five Hermes — or rather one, who appeared — as some Manus and Rishis did — in several different characters.
In the Burham-i-Kati he is mentioned as “Hormig,” a name of the planet Mercury or Budha; and Wednesday was sacred both to Hermes and Thot. The Hermes of Oriental tradition, worshipped at Phineata and said to have fled after the death of Argus into Egypt, civilized it under the name of Thoth. But under whichever of these characters, he is always credited with having transferred all the sciences from latent to active potency, i.e., with having been the first to teach magic to Egypt and to Greece, before the days of Magna Graecia, and when the Greeks were not even Hellenes.
There is no reason, in principle – notwithstanding lack of evidence – that there might not have been developed civilisation, somewhere, very much earlier than anything we have acknowledged by scientific archaeology.
The people were smart enough. If they were smart enough to start civilisation at Sumer, then why not some other place, a few thousand years earlier ? Or, indeed, many thousands of years earlier ? Somewhere not affected by the Ice Age, and possibly subsequently submerged ?
No evidence, perhaps, other than what Graham Hancock, Oppenheimer, and others say they have, but there seems nothing particularly outrageous or unreasonable about the suggestion, or the possibility.
Anyway, another Russian aristocratic lady and theosophist, of a later generation than Blavatsky, was Helena Ivanovna Roerich. She did some translation work on the Secret Doctrine, and had an interesting life.
Her father’s great-grandfather presented the cap of Monomakh to Peter the Great.
I don’t know if the name Roerich derives from the Varangian Viking name Rurik, Blavatsky’s forebear, the fellow who founded the Kiev Rus in the 9th C or whenever it was, but maybe so.
Helena gets her surname by her marriage to Nicholas Roerich (1874 – 1947) known also as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh.
These people, from the noble families with deep roots, had the wealth and opportunity to get sophisticated educations and to travel widely, meet interesting people and look at interesting places. Nicholas Roerich did a lot of paintings.
The Roerichs were into what they called Agni Yoga. Can’t say I’m especially enthusiastic.
Agni Yoga is a spiritual teaching transmitted by the artist Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena Roerich from 1920. The followers of Agni Yoga believe that the teaching was given to the Roerich family and their associates by Master Morya, the guru of Helena Blavatsky.
There are so many thousands of these belief systems to choose from. Take your pick.
Why not his one ?
or this one ?
Anyway, after that very long pre-amble, rambling around all over the place, back to the Book of Enoch, the best version which was found in Ethiopia. I don’t vouch for this guy, Andy McCracken’s, comments, remarks and interpretations though, although some are helpful.
The section 14 – 18 might be to do with a volcano and streams of lava, which is interesting, because there appears to have been a map at Catal Hoyuk, both of the town and of a volcanic mountain which is erupting.
This being relevant because of the posited connection in my previous blog post, between Catal Hoyuk, Gobekli Tepe, and The Book of Enoch. Well, maybe. What I’m interested in doing is exploring, clarifying, the earliest time when humans settled and recorded their stories and what sort of consciousness, if that’s a meaningful term, they had, how they conceived of ‘the world’ and themselves. And, if they received guidance from mystical experience, in some way, has it proved to be helpful, truthful, useful, in the light of what we now know to have occurred since then.
Of course, it’s not precisely clear or conclusive. I think one has to try and project one’s mind back to whenever this document was written, and the author may well not have been the original source of the story at all. But it’s some time after the invention of weaponry, and it’s recalling an earlier, more innocent period.
Who or what these Watchers and Angels and Giants may have been is rather tricky for my modern ways of thinking to fathom. I’m reminded of the Voyage of St Brendan and the various magical spectacles and experiences encountered. Just imagine what it must have been like, never having heard of or seen such a thing, to come upon an iceberg, a huge island of crystal, out in the open ocean.
What must it have been like, never having heard of, or seen, anything like a volcano, to be taken to see such a thing ? We are very blasé about such wonders.
32.2 And from there, I went over the summits of those mountains, far away
to the east, and I went over the Red Sea, and I was far from it, and I went
over the Angel Zotiel.
32.3 And I came to the Garden of Righteousness, and I saw beyond those
trees many large trees growing there, sweet smelling, large, very beautiful
and glorious, the Trees of Wisdom, from which they eat and know great
32.4 And it is like the carob tree, and its fruit is like bunches of grapes on a
vine, very beautiful, and the smell of this tree spreads and penetrates afar.
32.5 And I said: “This tree is beautiful! How beautiful and pleasing is its
32.6 And the Holy Angel Raphael, who was with me, answered me and
said to me: “This is the Tree of Wisdom, from which your ancient father
and ancient mother, who were before you, ate and learnt wisdom; and their
eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they were
driven from the garden.”
33.1 And from there I went to the ends of the earth, and I saw there large
animals, each different from the other, and also birds, which differed in
form, beauty, and call – each different from the other.
33.2 And to the east of these animals, I saw the ends of the Earth, on which
Heaven rests, and the open Gates of Heaven.
33.3 And I saw how the stars of Heaven come out, and counted the Gates
out of which they come, and wrote down all their outlets, for each one,
individually, according to their number. And their names, according to
their constellations, their positions, their times, and their months, as the
Angel Uriel, who was with me, showed me.
I think the Tree of Wisdom is quite interesting. It’s given a specific description.
‘..like the carob tree’
Could be Acacia, which is evergreen, like the Carob.
In Egyptian mythology, Isis and Osiris emerge from a grandmother, (but no grandfather) called by various names – Iusaset, Iusas, Iusaaset, Juesaes, Ausaas, Jusas. Greek, Saosis. She appears as a woman wearing the horned vulture crown with the uraeus and the solar disk in it.
Many myths relate that she was seen as the mother of the first deities and the grandmother of the following deities, having watched over the birth of the ones that were her grandchildren. She remains as a primary deity in the pantheon throughout all eras of the culture, even through the Persian, Hyksos, Greek, and Roman occupations, and regardless of changes in the specific myths.
Iusaaset was associated with the acacia tree,considered the tree of life. The oldest example known being situated just north of Heliopolis became identified as the birthplace of the deities. Iusaaset was said to own this tree. The acacia tree was renowned for its strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility. Many useful applications gave it a central importance in the culture.
It’s not clear to me what the scientific name of that particular acacia tree would be, because there’s been some changes is the classification, see here
But perhaps the one that might be of interest could be this one
The northernmost natural populations are found in relict groves in Israel (in the Shimron nature reserve, near the communal settlement of Timrat). All of the trees in a given grove are genetically identical and seem to have multiplied by vegetative reproduction only, for thousands of years.
Can it be just coincidental ? It’s certainly noteworthy, same tree features in the creation myths of two separate, rather different cultures and religions… possibly three, if you think of Enoch as a partial progenitor of the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic culture.
And also noteworthy, of course, because the leaves contain DMT, the God or Spirit Molecule.
References to hallucinations about intelligent beings can be found in many cultures ranging from shamanic traditions of native Americans to indigenous Australians and African tribes, as well as among western users of this substance. Terence McKenna used the term “machine elves” to describe hallucinations he experienced while taking dimethyltryptamine.
Peter Meyer also spoke about the DMT elves; he reported a subject’s experience of the elves after ingestion of DMT: “The elves were dancing in and out of the multidimensional visible language matrix”.Meyer associates this experience with that talked about by Walter Evans-Wentz, who expressed that a world of entities such as fairies and elves exists “as a supernormal state of consciousness into which men and women may enter temporarily in dreams, trances, or in various ecstatic conditions”. Psychiatrist Rick Strassman reported that many DMT smokers had experienced similar hallucinations.
Is the Serer word for the tree, Sas or Saas, the same word that appears in the Egyptian name Iusaset, Iusas, Iusaaset, Juesaes, Ausaas, Jusas, Greek, Saosis ? That’s a long shot, and probably wrong, I know absolutely nothing of African languages. In passing, I came across this, which is intriguing.
The discovery of a previously unknown writing and communication tradition in West Africa
But trying to stay with my topic, the Serer mythology is fascinating, for sure.
I mean, these people have been living in Africa, well, forever, since humans evolved there, I don’t know the history of these particular ethnic groups, wiki is useless, only seems to go back to c. 900 CE or so. But people have been cohabiting with the acacia trees, and all the other trees, for hundreds of thousands of years, so they’ve had plenty of time to chew on every type of root and bark and berry and twig and leaf, and to observe the effects.
And like all peoples everywhere, they have speculated as to where ‘all this’ came from, how it started, and where they themselves came from.
So their cosmology and origin myth has much in common with many others, the familiar tale. First there is nothing at all. Then some Creator entity arises, the source and cause of this being remain obscure and unexplained. There follow various stages, as sky, water, land, and eventually, living beings, emerge from the proto-nothing.
Of course, the details vary and the sequence leaves plenty of scope for embellishment, but the basic element and framework seems fairly standard for all cultures, I think.
So, the way the Serer see it, the Universe and everything in it, was created by an entity they call Roog. And then Planet Earth eventually emerged from a primordial swamp.
This emergence of Earth was the result of the growth of trees on the swamp, and then there is contention in the myths, because there is dispute, as to which of the trees took precedence. So these are the five rival trees that they mention.
1. Saas (Sas) – Acacia albida now called Faidherbia albida.
2. Nquƭ (Ngud or NGuƭ) – Guiera senegalensis
3. Somb – Prosopis africana
4. Nqual (Ngaul or NGawal) – Mitragyna inermis
5. Mbos – Gardenia ternifolia
All these trees have many medicinal applications, possibly the most interesting is that the Saas has the DMT in the leaves and Nquf has the beta carboline in the roots, and this would appear to be the two essential ingredients that go to make the well known ayahuasca brew of the South American shamans. All the parts of both these trees (and others) are listed as being combined in the many recipes that have been collected by students of African folk medicine.
There is a database here
So, it is certain, in principle, that the Africans have had available, the same psychoactive resource that ayahuasca offers, for as long as there have been people in Africa.
And, in my estimation, as an armchair amateur ethnologist, the possibility that they would not have found, known, used, that resource over the last million years or so, would be rather small, seeing as they are still using the same parts of the same trees containing the same chemicals, to treat a huge variety of ailments, leprosy, malaria, pneumonia, the list is very long, – and making baths, steam baths, infusions, snuff, from the tree parts, and chewing the leaves, twigs, bark, roots, using the ash in all sorts of ways, and so on. They have been doing practical experiments, over countless generations, for tens of thousands of years.
I think it was Ginsberg and Burroughs who were the first to hear about ayahuasca in USA, wasn’t it ? Way back when Kerouac and the rest were being beatniks, and they wrote the Yage Letters, it’s surely all on the internet, I haven’t bothered to check, and it’s taken all this time for ayahuasca to become popular and well known.
It’s been known all along, in South America, same as the Mexican Indians have known about all the stuff they have got. I’m betting the African situation is the same, just that nobody has been talking about it in Europe and USA.
Quite funny, about this Saas tree, the one with the DMT in the leaves, it says
According to the myth, the Saas loved human beings and perhaps too much. It would sometimes lower its thorny ends so people can give it a hug. Anyone who saw that immediately knew the Saas wanted their company.
The Saas eventually became exhausting for people when it started to abuse its supernatural powers. It is generally viewed as the tree that fell in disgrace.
So, although it’s sacred and the Tree of Life, and gives all these wonderful powers and heals and cures, it sort of went a bit too far, hahahaha, and now people are sort of slightly circumspect and not completely confident that it can be trusted…
Apparently, the oral tradition of the Serer states that they traveled from the Upper Nile to West Africa. One of the reasons that Cheikh Anta Diop claimed that the Serer were able to reject Islam, being one of the few African groups in the West African Sahel region to do so successfully, might be because of their strong connection to their ancient religious past. Scholars have long believed that the route of the Serer from their ancient homeland in East Africa can be traced by upright stones found along the latitude they traveled from East to West, from Ethiopia to the region of Sine-Saloum.
The word Serer, in ancient Egyptian, means “he who traces the temples.” [This assertion has been questioned elsewhere.]
The ideas of Cheikh Anta Diop were somewhat controversial and lead to many disputes over the course of his career.
Egyptologist Frank Yurco notes:
“Climatic cycles acted as a pump, alternately attracting African peoples onto the Sahara, then expelling them as the aridity returned (Keita 1990). Specialists in predynastic archaeology have recently proposed that the last climate-driven expulsion impelled the Saharans…into the Nile Valley ca. 5000-4500 BCE, where they intermingled with indigenous hunter-fisher-gatherer people already there (Hassan 1989; Wetterstorm 1993). Such was the origin of the distinct Egyptian populace, with its mix of agriculture/pastoralism and hunting/fishing. The resulting Badarian people, who developed the earliest Predynastic Egyptian culture, already exhibited the mix of North African and Sub-Saharan physical traits that have typified Egyptians ever since (Hassan 1985, Yurco 1989; Trigger 1978; Keita 1990; Brace et al. 1993)… Language research suggests that this Saharan-Nilotic population became speakers of the Afro-Asiatic languages…. Semitic was evidently spoken by Saharans who crossed the Red Sea into Arabia and became ancestors of the Semitic speakers there, possibly around 7000 BC… In summary we may say that Egypt was a distinct North African culture rooted in the Nile Valley and on the Sahara.”
The Serer Lamanes (or Lamans) have a historical, economic and religious significance in Serer countries, they are linked to the Pangool (Serer saints and ancestral spirits in Serer religion).
Henry Gravrand believed that their existence can be approximately placed at the time of the Neolithic Era about 10,000 years ago, when he believes that the people he describes as the proto-Serers of the Senegambia Region, Mauritania and the Western Sahara, etc., depicted rupestral engravings of the Pangool on the Tassili n’Ajjer. He sees this era as marking the development of Serer religion and culture.
The Neolithic people in the Nile Valley likely came from Sudan, as well as the Sahara, and there was shared culture with the two areas and with that of Egypt during this time period.By the 5th millennium BC, the people who inhabited what is now called Nubia participated in the Neolithic revolution. Saharan rock reliefs depict scenes that have been thought to be suggestive of a cattle cult, typical of those seen throughout parts of Eastern Africa and the Nile Valley even to this day. Megaliths discovered at Nabta Playa are early examples of what seems to be one of the world’s first astronomical devices, predating Stonehenge by almost 2,000 years.This complexity as observed at Nabta Playa, and as expressed by different levels of authority within the society there, likely formed the basis for the structure of both the Neolithic society at Nabta and the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Around 3800 BC, the second “Nubian” culture, termed the A-Group, arose. It was a contemporary of, and ethnically and culturally very similar to, the polities in predynastic Naqada of Upper Egypt.
Around 3300 BC, there is evidence of a unified kingdom, as shown by the finds at Qustul, that maintained substantial interactions (both cultural and genetic) with the culture of Naqadan Upper Egypt. The Nubian culture may have even contributed to the unification of the Nile Valley. Also, the Nubians very likely contributed some pharaonic iconography, such as the white crown and serekh, to the Northern Egyptian kings. The white crown, associated in historic times with Upper Egypt, is first attested later than the red crown, but is directly associated with the ruler somewhat earlier. The earliest know depiction of the white crown is on a ceremonial incense burner from Cemetery at Qustul in Lower Nubia. Around the turn of the protodynastic period, Naqada, in its bid to conquer and unify the whole Nile Valley, seems to have conquered Ta-Seti (the kingdom where Qustul was located) and harmonized it with the Egyptian state. Thus, Nubia became the first nome of Upper Egypt. At the time of the first dynasty, the A-Group area seems to have been entirely depopulated,most likely due to immigration to areas west and south.
The Dhar Tichitt region forms part of a long sandstone cliff formation that define the northern limit of the Hodh depression. The area was settled by late stone age agropastoral communities around 2000 BC. The settlements were generally situated on the cliffs and included stone building. The area was abandoned around 500 BC probably because of the onset of more arid conditions. Hundreds of rock art images have been discovered, depicting various animals and hunting scenes. Archaeologists such as P.J. Munson, Augustin F.C. Holl, and S. Amblard have provided some indication that millet was farmed seasonally as early as 2000 BC.
It is the oldest surviving archaeological settlements in West Africa and the oldest of all stone base settlements south of the Sahara. It is thought to have been built by the Soninke people (possibly by the Serers) and is thought to be the precursor of the Ghana empire, thought to have been built by Wolof people or Wolof-related ancestors.
This is one of the many sites in West Africa that was contemporary with pre-dynastic, archaic, and Old Kingdom Egypt.
Coping with uncertainty: Neolithic life in the Dhar Tichitt-Walata, Mauritania, (ca. 4000–2300 BP) Augustin F.C. Holl
The sandstone escarpment of the Dhar Tichitt in South-Central Mauritania was inhabited by Neolithic agropastoral communities for approximately one and half millennium during the Late Holocene, from ca. 4000 to 2300 BP. The absence of prior evidence of human settlement points to the influx of mobile herders moving away from the “drying” Sahara towards more humid lower latitudes. These herders took advantage of the peculiarities of the local geology and environment and succeeded in domesticating bulrush millet – Pennisetum sp. The emerging agropastoral subsistence complex had conflicting and/or complementary requirements depending on circumstances. In the long run, the social adjustment to the new subsistence complex, shifting site location strategies, nested settlement patterns and the rise of more encompassing polities appear to have been used to cope with climatic hazards in this relatively circumscribed area. An intense arid spell in the middle of the first millennium BC triggered the collapse of the whole Neolithic agropastoral system and the abandonment of the areas. These regions, resettled by sparse oasis-dwellers populations and iron-using communities starting from the first half of the first millennium AD, became part of the famous Ghana “empire”, the earliest state in West African history.
“Fish appeared to have swam across the Sahara during its last wet phase sometime between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago,” researcher Nick Drake, a geographer at King’s College London… Using satellite imagery and digital maps of the landscape, the researchers found the Sahara was once covered by a dense network of rivers, lakes and inland deltas. This large waterway channeled water and animals into and across the Sahara during wet, “green” times.
Tichitt-Walata and Tagant Settlements of SUDANIC AFRICA
The significance of the Sudan must be viewed in the context of expansion, enlarged settlements and increasing geographic scale of trade and interaction, the growth of powerful military aristocracies, with their cavalry-based armies, the specialization of crafts, music and art guilds, the organization of administrative systems, urban sprawl, and the ascendance of the merchant groups. All these things contributed to the accumulation and circulation of wealth in the region, and ultimately in the world.
What is Sudanic Africa? 10th century geographer Ishaq ibn al-Husayn offered a suitable historical starting point. He describes it thus: “The land of the Sudan, an extensive country, stretching from the Western Sea [Atlantic Ocean] to the Red Sea [is] an enormous and important land”.
Geographically, this vast territory comprises at least these major ecological zones—the Sahara, the Sahel, and the savanna or grasslands. Scholars divide the Sahel and grasslands into three macro-regions: the Western Sudan (historic cores: the Upper and Middle Niger Valleys and the Senegal Valley), the Central Sudan (historic core: the Lake Chad basin), and the Eastern Sudan (historic core: the Middle Nile Valley).
The Middle Niger Valley was known as the land of Wangara in Muslim geographical sources, and in the works of Latin Christian cartographers it was called Palolus – Island of Gold. In this context, Ishaq ibn al-Husayn’s reference to the Sudan as an important land becomes patently clear.
Before 2000 BC, what is today the southern Sahara was inhabited by significant numbers of herders and farmers. On the rocky promontories of the Tichitt-Walata (Birou) and Tagant Plateaus in modern day Mauritania, they built what are considered among the earliest known civilizations in western Africa. Composed of more than 400 stone masonry settlements, with clear street layouts, some settlements had massive surrounding walls while others were less fortified. In a deteriorating environment, where arable land and pasturage were at a premium, the population grew and relatively large-scale political organizations emerged – factors which no doubt explain the homogeneity of architecture, settlement patterns, and material culture (e.g., lithic and ceramic traditions). This agro-pastoral society traded in jewelry and semi-precious stones from distant parts of the Sahara and Sahel, while crafts, hunting, and fishing were also important economic pursuits. Their elites built funerary monuments for themselves over a period extending from 4000 to 1000 BC.
Beginning around 600 BC, Tichitt-Walata entered a period of crisis which continued until 300 BC, although some settlements and cultural elements survived until the 4th century AD. The decline of architectural and material culture is evident in the archaeological record and settlement pattern, as towns were abandoned and villages became concealed and fortified. Increasingly arid conditions certainly contributed to this situation, as well as military forays from the east and north – which disrupted the regional centers’ control over trade routes – and political/military upheavals internally.
In the words of one archaeologist, the abandoned sites they left behind represent “a great wealth of rather spectacular prehistoric ruins” and “perhaps the most remarkable group of Neolithic settlements in the world” (Mauny, 1971).
Between 200 BC and 100 AD, the Sahel experienced significant dry episodes which were part of the general drying trend that had been seriously underway since before 2000 BC. Southern Saharan populations were moving southward along southward-draining river systems where they found more congenial environments. Two of these were the great floodplains of the Middle Niger Valley and the Senegal Valley.
The Central Saharan-based Garamantes Kingdom was expanding in this period as well, and it is possible that a military force from this polity temporarily occupied Tichitt-Walata. However, the contact was not only military. There were important cultural and material exchanges. For example, chariots, depicted in numerous rock art images, appeared for the first time.
The situation of Tagant, to the east, was different. This civilization had more than 300 dry-stone settlements, which, in terms of their architecture, material culture, settlement differentiation and hierarchies, specialized production systems, and so on, were practically identical to those of Tichitt-Walata. However, Tagant survived the Garamantes’ arrival and the ecological degradation.
Consequently, following the decline and collapse of the Garamantes Empire – between the 4th and the 6th centuries AD, western domination began again – this time under Ghana/Wagadu. Between the 6th and the 8th century AD, Ghana/Wagadu established itself as the hegemonic political and commercial capital of the Western Sudan. Together with the Hodh and Awkar districts, Tichitt-Walata and Tagant formed the kingdom’s heartland for more than a thousand years. In that time, Ghana/Wagadu and its rival, Kawkaw/Gao, reigned as the two most dominant social-political systems in the Sudanic world. (Monteil, 1953).
The reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is that the Tassili-n-Ajjer, more than any other Saharan region, has been subject to an appalling record of personal ambition, greed, looting, fraud, fakery and just about everything else that can give archaeology, or any other discipline for that matter, a bad name.
Hahaha, so I have not really come to any conclusions about anything here, I’ve meandered around and enjoyed myself…. an exploration of the mind to see what we can find…
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