Between 2002 and 2009, the Western Sahara Project undertook eight seasons of fieldwork in the Polisario-controlled areas or ‘Free Zone’ of Western Sahara. Together these field seasons constituted Phase 1 of the Project. The results of Phase 1 are detailed in the following publication, which is currently in press:
Clarke, J. and Brooks, N. 2013. The Prehistory of Western Sahara: A Synthesis of Fieldwork, 2002 to 2009. Oxbow, Oxford (in press).
The Phase 1 field seasons consisted of five seasons of extensive survey, two seasons of intensive survey (including excavations), and one season devoted solely to the excavation of two burial monuments.
Extensive survey involved the identification and sampling of environmental sites, alongside the identification and recording of new archaeological sites and features, throughout the Free Zone. Recording of archeological features during extensive survey work ranged from systematic (in small sample areas) to opportunistic (while in transit between locations of interest identified in advance). The majority of archaeological features recorded during the extensive survey are built stone features, including but not limited to funerary monuments, with a minority of features representing concentrations of worked stone, ceramics, and/or rock art (paintings and engravings).
Intensive survey involved the systematic survey of an area of approximately 10 square km, some 15 km north of the settlement of Tifariti, along the Wadi Tifariti. The excavated burial monuments are located within the intensive survey area, known as area TF1.
Plans for Phase 2 of the Project, involving a resumption of fieldwork to build on and extend the results of Phase 1, are currently in development.