At long last, our book on The Archaeology of Western Sahara is out. The book details the results of eight seasons of fieldwork in the Polisario-controlled areas or ‘Free Zone’ of Western Sahara from 2002 to 2009. It describes the geographical and environmental contexts of the archaeology of Western Sahara, and the results of both extensive and intensive survey focusing on stone features/monuments.
The extensive survey covered a vast area extending across the Northern and Southern Sectors of the Free Zone, and focused on identifying and recording sites of archaeological and environmental interest. Recording of archaeological sites during the extensive involved the opportunistic recording of stone features and rock art, and the detailed recording of stone features within specified small areas, in order to gain an understanding of the nature and diversity of these aspects of the archaeological record. Some environmental sites were sampled for analysis, although results were very limited due to the challenge of exporting materials from Western Sahara as a result of its status as a disputed, non-self governing territory.
The intensive survey focused on a restricted area of several square kilometres just north of the settlement of Tifariti, in which all anthropogenic stone features were recorded. Two stone monuments were excavated, and a number of test pits were also excavated.
The results of the excavations and surveys are interpreted in relation to the wider Saharan archaeological record, and to changes in the Saharan environment over the past 10,000 years.