Ethnoarchaeology of the Kel Tadrart Tuareg

Pastoralism and Resilience in Central Sahara

  • Stefano Biagetti

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Archaeology book series (BRIEFSARCHAE, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 1-14
  3. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 15-25
  4. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 43-61
  5. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 63-98
  6. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 99-142
  7. Stefano Biagetti
    Pages 147-151
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 153-154

About this book


This book focuses on the issues of resilience and variability of desert pastoralists, explicitly challenging a set of traditional topics of the discourse around pastoralism in arid lands of the Old World. Based on a field research carried out on the Kel Tadrart Tuareg in Libya, various facets of a surprisingly successful adaptation to an extremely arid environment are investigated. By means of an ethnoarchaeological approach, explored are the Kel Tadrart interactions with natural resources, the settlement patterns, the campsite structures, and the formation of the pastoral archaeological landscape, focusing on variability and its causes. The resilience of the Kel Tadrart is the key to understand the reasons of their choice to stay and live in the almost rainless Acacus Mountains, in spite of strong pressure to sedentarize in the neighboring oases. Through the collection of the interviews, participant observation, mapping of inhabited and abandoned campsites, remote sensing, and archival sources, various and different Kel Tadrart strategies, perceptions, and material cultures are examined. This book fills an important gap in the ethnoarchaeological research in central Sahara and in the study of desert pastoralism.​ Desert lands are likely to increase over the next decades but, our knowledge of human adaptations to these areas of the world is still patchy and generally biased by the idea that extremely arid lands are not suited for human occupation.​


Archaeology of nomadism Ethnography of Kel Ajjer Tuareg Prehistory and history of Tadrart Acacus Settlement distribution of current Kel Tadrart sites Theoretical issues in pastoralism Tifinagh inscriptions

Authors and affiliations

  • Stefano Biagetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Parc de Recerca - Ciències Socials i HumanesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

Bibliographic information