Une mise à jour de la séquence de l'Oued Ti-n-Torha, Tadrart Akakus : le Sud de la Libye entre l'Holocène ancien et moyen
In: Quaderni di Archeologia della Libya: 24, 2022
An Update of the Wadi Ti-N-Torha Sequence, Tadrart Akakus. Southern Libya from Early to Mid-Holocene
The discovery in the early 1970s of the important Wadi Ti-n-Torha complex with its three sites within a few hundred meters of each other – Torha East, Torha Two Caves and Torha North – had important consequences for following studies of the prehistory of southern Libya and highlighted its position within the cultures of central Sahara. Wadi Ti-n-Torha is located in the northeastern region of the Tadrart Akakus, which had never before been explored. Research conducted under the direction of Salvatore M. Puglisi and later by Barbara E. Barich in the period 1969-1985 brought to light for the first time an Early Holocene (from 10,500 cal BP), pre-pastoral horizon and discussed its relationship with later pastoral occupation. The latter until then was the only occupation phase identified in the Tadrart by previous explorations and was also documented in the upper levels of the Torha North shelter. The diachronic presence of both pre-pastoral and pastoral horizons in the same area made the Wadi Ti-n-Torha investigation particularly strategic. Wadi Ti-n-Torha’s Early Holocene showed entirely novel features in terms of technology, environmental exploitation and settlement pattern. Quite noteworthy are, in the first place, the presence of pottery at least 10,000 years old, alongside the intensive use of wild plants and the semi-stable occupation pattern based on stone structures that anticipated the 8th mill. BP examples of the Egyptian Oases. With these characteristics the Early Holocene horizon of the Ti-n-Torha presents itself as a prepatory environment of the later pastoral occupation. A comparative examination of the pre-pastoral and pastoral features reveals elements of continuity in the relationship with the environment. The acquisition of new resources was accommodated within a system that, at the initial stage, shows no obvious ruptures. The article proposes a rereading of this exceptional complex. This is done by drawing the main events of the sequence, from pre-pastoral to pastoral layers made clearer by calibrated BP and BCE chronology. The new approach makes the correspondences between environmental changes and human adaptation more visible. The reinterpretation also concerns the artifactual complex, particularly a new approach to the study of animal raw materials of which a careful technological and stylistic analysis is presented.
Keywords: Sahara libyen, Holocène ancien, première technologie céramique, matière dure animale, transition pré- pastorale/pastorale Libyan Sahara, Early Holocene, first ceramic technology, animal raw materials, pre-pastoral/pastoral transition.