Archaeological Survey report on the Western Sahara (2020)



I Context of the Report 3

1-The CEAUP website project for Western Sahara. 3

2-Milestones of the CEAUP mission. 4

II – The Archaeological Survey Report 5

1 - Team Composition. 5

2 – Object and Methodology. 6

2.1. Types of sites. 7

2.2. Transliteration issues. 7

2.3. Selection of the field area. 8

2.4. Routine procedures. 10

2.5. - Materials and Equipment used in the field mission. 11

3 -  Short Review of Litterature. 11

4 – Environment 13

5- Archaelogical Sites – General Description. 14

6 - Inventory. 16

6.1 – Rock art site. 16

6.2 - Funerary/ Burial structures. 31

6.3 – Shelters. 63

6.4 – Contemporary/ Military structures. 64

6.5 - Unidentified structures. 73

7 – Materiais. 79

7.1 – Lithics. 80

7.2 – Ceramics. 81

7.3 – Contemporary materials/Battlefield finds. 81

8 - Conclusões. 85

10 - Future objectives and suggestions. 89

11- Bibliography. 90




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The former colony of the Western Sahara remains one of the oldest decolonization conflicts. It was a war-zone for 16 years (1976-1991). Since 1991 a political stalemate is going on which has prevented the establishment of effective heritage and development policies in the region. Therefore, Western Sahara cultural and natural heritage is currently at a high risk of loss. In the Moroccan-occupied area, deliberate policies leading to the misappropriation and fading away of Saharawui identity were often criticised by international observers. On the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)-controlled area, desert conditions eroded all kinds of sites and conflict risks add to the natural ones. Since this part of the W. Sahara is still a potential military theatre, there are few permanent infra-structures such as roads, urban or social equipments. Part of the ground is still mined and debris of military equipment (land and airplane bombs not exploded) are commonly found. It is a scarcely populated area: only SADR officials (civil and military), the MINURSO personnel (alleged responsible of several acts of looting and vandalism) and Bedouin nomadic families dwell therein. Most of its valuable archaeological heritage is NOT registered neither protected. Natural Heritage is also unknown too: there are no maps of water resources neither a draft inventory of its ecosystems. Effective policies of infra-structural and agronomical support urgently need cartographic information.


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