Archaeoastronomy of North Africa

  • César Esteban
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9630

In this article, I review data on orientations of pre‐Islamic funerary and religious monuments in North Africa, including Sahara and the Maghreb and excluding Egypt, which has been extensively discussed elsewhere. The time span of the monuments discussed is extremely wide, from the Neolithic up to the Arabic invasion. The main conclusion is that there were enduring patterns in the orientations, very likely related to the ritual or symbolic importance of the rising sun. The overwhelming evidence confirms the strong solar aspects of the North African religion that the ancient writers indicated.

The prehistoric dry stone funerary monuments of the Sahara are called idebnan (in plural) and idebni(in singular) by the present‐day Tuareg. There are several different architectural types and they are distributed in a very extended geographical area. Early European visitors realised that a large proportion of these monuments tend to be orientated with their main distinctive elements towards the...

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  • César Esteban

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