“Hunters” and “Herders” in the Central Sahara:
the “archaic Hunters” expelled from the paradigm
Jean-Loïc LE QUELLEC
With regard to the chronology of the rock art of the whole Saharan sub-continent, a very common opinion is that, starting from the VIIth millennium BP or even earlier, an older “Culture of the Hunters” had been replaced by groups of “Herders”, and that this change appeared in rock art as a modification of styles, techniques and, above all, of the set of themes associated with the imaginative world of these two populations. A series of recent publications renews this proposal for the Fezzan province, by presenting “archaic Hunters” as existing before 8000 BP, or even as dating from the very Late Pleistocene. After analysing the methodology and the arguments adopted by its authors, this thesis will finally be confronted with, and largely contradicted by, new observations carried out on the two plateaux of the Libyan Messak, i.e. in one of the supposed ‘homes’ of the aforesaid “Hunters Culture”.