The Publication of the First Phase of Archaeological and Environmental Research in Western Sahara

  • Clarke, Joanne (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


This application is for the production of a scholarly monograph and for attendance at two conferences in order to present results and interpretation of eight years of archaeological and environmental exploration undertaken by the University of East Anglia in the Polisario-controlled areas of Western Sahara. The aim of the Western Sahara Project (WSP) has been to document the changing nature of human occupation and utilisation of an area of the Sahara that remained comparatively well watered throughout prehistory, from the Late Pleistocene into the Late Holocene. Archaeological fieldwork was undertaken in a nine square kilometre region of the Wadi Tifiriti and has documented over 460 funerary and ritual monuments dating from the 5th to the 1st millennia b.p. (the end of the Middle and the Late Holocene) and seven occupation sites, mostly dating to the 9th and 8th millennia b.p.(the Early Holocene). The work around the Wadi Tifariti represents an opportunity to compare the archaeological and environmental records of the far west of the Sahara with records from central and eastern regions at similar latitudes (e.g. Niger, Libya, and Sudan), as well as with trajectories of coastal occupation to the west, and of occupation on the northern Saharan fringes and in the Sahel. Archaeological investigation of the region has been supplemented by a programme of environmental sampling of sediments and tufas. This Project represents the publication of Phase 1 of what we hope will be a much larger systematic programme of archaeological and environmental study in the region.
Effective start/end date1/09/1031/12/10


  • Arts and Humanities Research Council: £27,956.00