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The Holocene Flora and Vegetation of Ti-n Hanakaten (Tassili n’Ajjer, Algerian Sahara)

  • Samira Amrani
Chapter

Abstract

Ti-n Hanakaten is one of the most important prehistoric sites of the Tassili n’Ajjer, in the Algerian Sahara. Since the Early Holocene, and during the Middle and Late Holocene, the occupants of Ti-n Hanakaten were hunter-gatherers, and then herders of the Bovidian culture (Aumassip et al. 2013). The Holocene stratigraphical sequence of this site consists of preserved archaeological layers with evidence of a long cultural occupation between approximately 8250  and 660 BC. During six field excavations (1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1981) directed by G. Aumassip, a very large quantity of botanical remains was uncovered from the archaeological deposits of Ti-n Hanakaten. The archaeobotanical study of this site included palynological and anthracological analyses, and offered interesting palaeoenvironmental information on a fairly unknown area. Pollen data provide a broad view of the vegetation that characterized the immediate as well as the more distant surroundings of the site during the Holocene. The pollen flora of Ti-n Hanakaten belongs to different phytogeographical groups and points to the presence of a mosaic of vegetation types. Probably Mediterranean vegetation grew at 1000 m elevation during Holocene times when climatic and ecological conditions were favorable for Cupressus (C. dupreziana), Pistacia (P. atlantica) and Olea (O. laperrinei). The study of charcoal remains was useful to infer human activities and plant exploitation at the site, documenting woody plants used for fuel or other purposes. Probably small groups of inhabitants visited diverse territories in order to find wood or charcoal, and some resources may have been transported to the site from distant regions, for instance from the highest elevations of the Tassili n’Ajjer mountains where the aforementioned Mediterranean vegetation was likely found.

Keywords

Algeria Charcoal Ti-n Hanakaten Central Sahara Pollen 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Archaeology, University of AlgiersAlgiersAlgeria

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