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The Algerian Revolution (Arabic: ?????? ?????????? Al-Thawra Al-Jaz?’iriyya; French: Guerre d'Algérie, "Algerian War") was a conflict between France and Algerian independence movements from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria gaining its independence from France. An important decolonization war, it was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis fighting, terrorism against civilians, the use of torture on both sides, and counter-terrorism operations by the French Army. The conflict was also a civil war between loyalist Algerians who believed in a French Algeria and their insurrectionist Algerian Muslim counterparts. Effectively started by members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) on November 1, 1954, during the Toussaint Rouge ("Red All Saints' Day"), the conflict shook the foundations of the French Fourth Republic (1946–58) and led to its eventual collapse.
The war involved a large number of rival movements which fought against each other at different moments, such as on the independence side, when the National Liberation Front (FLN) fought viciously against the Algerian National Movement (MNA) in Algeria and in the Café Wars on the French mainland; on the pro-French side, during its final months, when the conflict evolved into a civil war between pro-French hardliners in Algeria and supporters of General Charles de Gaulle. The French Army split during two attempted coups, while the right-wing Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS) fought against both the FLN and the French government's forces.
Under directives from Guy Mollet's French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) government and from François Mitterrand, who was minister of the interior, the French Army initiated a campaign of "pacification" of what was considered at the time to be a full part of France. This "public-order operation" quickly grew to a full-scale war. Algerians, who had at first largely favored a peaceful resolution, turned increasingly toward the goal of independence, supported by Arab countries and, more generally, by worldwide opinion fueled by anti-colonialist ideas. Meanwhile, the French were divided on the issues of "French Algeria" (l'Algérie Française), specifically, concerning whether to keep the status-quo, negotiate a status intermediate between independence and complete integration in the French Republic, or allow complete independence. The French army finally obtained a military victory in the war, but the situation had changed, and Algerian independence could no longer be forestalled.
Because of the instability in France, the French Fourth Republic was dissolved. Charles de Gaulle returned to power during the May 1958 crisis and subsequently founded the Fifth Republic with his Gaullist followers. De Gaulle's return to power was supposed to ensure Algeria's continued occupation and integration with the French Community, which had replaced the French Union and brought together France's colonies. However, de Gaulle progressively shifted in favor of Algerian independence, purportedly seeing it as inevitable. De Gaulle organized a vote for the Algerian people. The Algerians chose independence, and France engaged in negotiations with the FLN, leading to the March 1962 Evian Accords, which resulted in the independence of Algeria.
After the failed April 1961 Algiers putsch, organized by generals hostile to the negotiations headed by Michel Debré's Gaullist government, the OAS (Organisation de l'armée secrète), which grouped various opponents of Algerian independence, initiated a campaign of bombings. It also initiated peaceful strikes and demonstrations in Algeria in order to block the implementation of the Evian Accords and the exile of the pieds-noirs (Algerians of European origin). Ahmed Ben Bella, who had been arrested in 1956 along with other FLN leaders, became the first President of Algeria.
To this day, the war has provided an important strategy frame for counter-insurgency thinkers, while the use of torture by the French Army has provoked a moral and political debate on the legitimacy and effectiveness of such methods. This debate is far from being settled because torture was used by both sides.
The Algerian war was a founding event in modern Algerian history. It left long-standing scars in both French and Algerian societies and continues to affect some segments of society in both countries. It was not until June 1999, 37 years after the conclusion of the conflict, that the French National Assembly officially acknowledged that a "war" had taken place, while the Paris massacre of 1961 was recognized by the French state only in October 2001. On the other hand, the Oran massacre of 1962 by the FLN has also not yet been recognized by the Algerian state. Relations between France and Algeria are still deeply marked by this conflict and its aftermath.
Torture was a frequent process in use from the beginning of the colonization of Algeria, which started in 1830. Claude Bourdet had denounced these acts on December 6, 1951, in the magazine L'Observateur, retorically asking: "Is there a Gestapo in Algeria?" Torture had also been used on both sides during the First Indochina War (1946–54) D. Huf, in his seminal work on the subject, has argued that the use of torture was one of the major factors in developing French opposition to the war. Huf argues that "Such tactics sat uncomfortably with France's revolutionary history, and brought unbearable comparisons with Nazi Germany. The French national psyche would not tolerate any parallels between their experiences of occupation and their colonial mastery of Algeria." General Paul Aussaresses admitted in 2000 that the use of systematic torture techniques during the war and justified it. He also recognized the assassination of lawyer Ali Boumendjel and the head of the FLN in Algiers, Larbi Ben M'Hidi, which had been disguised as suicides. Bigeard, who called FLN activists "savages", claimed torture was a "necessary evil." To the contrary, General Jacques Massu denounced it, following Aussaresses's revelations and, before his death, pronounced himself in favor of an official condemnation of the use of torture during the war.
Bigeard's justification of torture has been criticized by various people, among whom Joseph Doré, archbishop of Strasbourg, and Marc Lienhard, president of the Lutherian Church of Augsbourg Confession in Alsace-Lorraine.
In June 2000, Bigeard declared that he was based in Sidi Ferruch, known as a torture center and where Algerians were murdered. Bigeard qualified Louisette Ighilahriz's revelations, published in the Le Monde newspaper on June 20, 2000, as "lies." An ALN activist, Louisette Ighilahriz had been tortured by General Massu. She herself called Bigeard a "liar" and criticized his continuing denial of the use of torture 40 years later. However, since General Massu's revelations, Bigeard has now admitted the use of torture, although he denies having personally used it, and has declared: "You are striking the heart of an 84-year-old man." Bigeard also recognized that Larbi Ben M'Hidi had been assassinated and that his death had been disguised as a suicide. Paul Teitgen, prefect of Algiers, also revealed that Bigeard's troops threw Algerians in the sea from helicopters, which resulted in brutalized corpses, found in open waters and nicknamed "crevettes Bigeard" ("Bigeard's shrimp"). This tactic was later theorized in Argentina by Admiral Luis María Mendía, as "death flights."
Specializing in ambushes and night raids to avoid direct contact with superior French firepower, the internal forces targeted Army patrols, military encampments, police posts, and colonial farms, mines, and factories, as well as transportation and communications facilities. Kidnapping was commonplace, as were the ritual murder and mutilation of civilians. At first, the FLN targeted only Muslim officials of the colonial regime; later, they coerced, maimed, or killed village elders, government employees, and even simple peasants who simply refused to support them. (Cutting off ears and noses with a Douk-Douk was a favored torture.) Moreover, during the first two years of the conflict, the guerrillas killed about 6,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims according to a former paratrooper.
Counter-insurgency tactics developed during the war were used afterward in other contexts, including the Argentine "Dirty War" in the 1970s. In a book, journalist Marie-Monique Robin alleges that French secret agents had taught Argentine intelligence agents counter-insurgency tactics, including the systemic use of torture, block-warden system, and other techniques, all employed during the 1957 Battle of Algiers. The Battle of Algiers film includes the documentation. Robin found the document proving that a secret military agreement tied France to Argentina from 1959 until 1981; the later is the date of the election of President François Mitterrand.
Although the opening of the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a 30-year lock-up has enabled some new historical research on the war, including Jean-Charles Jauffret's book, La Guerre d'Algérie par les documents ("The Algerian War According to the Documents"), many remain inaccessible. This is contrary to the engagement of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's (Socialist Party, PS) on July 27, 1997. The recognition in 1999 by the National Assembly, in which the PS had obtained a majority during the 1997 legislative elections, permitted the Algerian War, at last, to enter the syllabi of French schools. The details of the Paris massacre of 1961 has only begun to emerge in the nation's memory, although access to the archives remains strongly restricted. The French state, which finally recognized 40 deaths, is a far way from giving free access to the archives. (In France, there is no such law such as the U.S.'s Freedom of Information Act.) However, it has been proved, including with David Assouline's limited access to the Paris archives, granted by Socialist Minister of Culture Catherine Trautmann), that at least 70 Algerians died during these events and 90 people by the second half of October 1961.
The Algerian War remains a contentious event today. According to historian Benjamin Stora — who holds a Ph.D. degree in history and sociology, teaches at Paris VII, and is one of the leading historians on the Algerian war — memories concerning the war remain fragmented, with no common ground to speak of, translated from French:
"There is no such thing as a history of the Algerian War; there is just a multitude of histories and personal paths through it. Everyone involved considers that they lived through it in their own way, and any attempt to understand the Algerian War globally is immediately rejected by protagonists."
Even though Stora has counted 3,000 publications in French on the Algerian war, there still is no work produced with a French person and an Algerian cooperating with one another. Even though, according to Stora there can "no longer be talk about a 'war without a name'.... , a number of problems remain, especially the absence of sites in France to commemorate" the war. Furthermore, conflicts have arisen on an exact commemoration date to end the war. Although many sources as well as the French state place it on March 19, 1962, the Evian agreements, others point out that the massacres of harkis and the kidnapping of pied-noirs took place afterwards.
Stora further points out: "The phase of memorial reconciliation between the two sides of the sea is still a long way off." This was recently illustrated by the Union for a Popular Movement's UMP vote of the February 23, 2005, the law on colonialism, which asserted that colonialism had globally been "positive." Thus, a teacher in one of the elite high schools of Paris has declared:
"Yes, colonization has had positive effects. After all, we did give to Algeria modern infrastructures, a system of education, libraries, social centers.... There were only 10% Algerian students in 1962? This is not much, of course, but it is not nothing either!"
Along side a heated debate in France, the February 23, 2005, law had the effect of jeopardizing the treaty of friendship that President Jacques Chirac was supposed to sign with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika — a treaty no longer on the agenda. Following this controversial law, Bouteflika has talked about a "cultural genocide", particularly referring to the 1945 Sétif massacre. Chirac finally had the law repealed through a complex institutional mechanism.
Another matter concerns the teaching of the war, as well as of colonialism and decolonization, in particular in French secondary schools Hence, there is only one reference to racism in a French textbook, one published by Bréal publishers for terminales students (those passing their baccalauréat). This circumstance exists despite an institutional racism, which is still present in French society and demonstrated by SOS Racisme's various tests concerning racial discrimination. Textbooks still refers to "Muslims" as "them" and the "French" as "us", despite the fact that Algerians held French nationality and that many French citizens today come from a Muslim background. Thus, many are not surprised that the first to speak about the October 17, 1961, massacre were music bands, including, but not only, hip-hop bands such as the famous Suprême NTM ("les Arabes dans la Seine") or politically engaged La Rumeur. Indeed, the Algerian War is not even the subject of a specific chapter in textbook for terminales Henceforth, Benjamin Stora can state that:
"As Algerians do not appear in an "indigenous" condition, and their sub-citizens status, as the history of nationalist movement, is never evoked as their being one of great figures of the resistance, such as Messali Hadj and Ferhat Abbas. They neither emerge nor are being given attention. No one is explaining to students what colonization has been. We have prevented students from understanding why the decolonization took place."
The Algerian War and its consequences are thus fundamental to any understanding of the state of 21st-century France, as well as the social situation in the French suburbs, the conditions of which were brought to world attention during the civil unrest in autumn 2005. For the first time since the Algerian war, the head of state, President Chirac of the UMP party, proclaimed a state of emergency, which was confirmed a few weeks later by the National Assembly. (The only party to vote against its extension were the Communist Party and the Greens.)
In metropolitan France in 1963, 43% of French Algerians lived in bidonvilles (shanty towns). Thus, Azouz Begag, the delegate minister for Equal Opportunities in the government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin of the UMP party, wrote an autobiographic novel, Le Gone du Chaâba, about his experiences while living in a bidonville in the outskirts of Lyon. It is impossible to understand the third-generation of Algerian immigrants to France without recalling this bicultural experience. An official parliamentary report on the "prevention of criminality", commanded by then Interior Minister Villepin and made by member of parliament Jacques-Alain Bénisti, claimed that "Multilingualism (bilinguisme) was a factor of criminality." (sic). Following outcries from many NGOs and left-wing sectors, the definitive version of the Bénisti report finally made multilingualism an asset rather than a fault.
Thus, the stakes of the contemporary debate on torture clearly appear in full light. After having denied its use during 40 years, the French state has finally recognized it; although, there was never an official proclamation about it. Paul Aussaresses was sentenced following his justification of the use of torture for "apology of war crimes." But, the same as during the events of the time, the French state has claimed torture was an isolated act, instead of admitting its responsibility in the institutionalization of torture as a standard counter-insurgency method, which was used to break the population's morale and not, as Aussaresses has claimed, to "save lives" by gaining short-term information which would stop "terrorists"). The state now claims that it was a regrettable incident due to the context of the war. But various academic research has proved both theses false. "Torture in Algeria was engraved in the colonial act; it is a 'normal' illustration of an abnormal system", wrote Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard and Sandrine Lemaire, who discuss the phenomena of "human zoos." From the enfumades (smoking parlors) of the Darha caves in 1844 by Pélissier to the 1945 riots in Sétif, Guelma, and Kherrata, the repression in Algeria has used the same methods. Following the Sétif massacres, other riots against the European presence occurred in Guelma, Batna, Biskra, and Kherrata; they resulted in 103 deaths among the pied-noirs. The repression of these riots officially saw 1,500 other deaths, but N. Bancel, P. Blanchard and S. Lemaire estimate the number to be rather between 6,000 and 8,000.
The rock art of the Djelfa region (Algeria) consists of prehistoric engravings of Neolithic age which have been recognized since 1914. Following the Saharan Atlas Mountains they follow on from those, to the west, of south Oran (the regions of Figuig, Ain Sefra, El-Bayadh, Aflou and Tiaret), to which they are related. Comparable engravings have also been described further to the east, in the Constantine (Algeria) region.
Localities and descriptions
Some of the engravings of the Djelfa region seem to have been known since the 1850s (El Idrissia). Among the best-known, those of Zaccar were discovered in 1907, and Flamand described in 1914 the station of Daïet es Stel. In the mid-1960s the active Djelfa Council of Initiatives undertook to record engravings and paintings, and Father F. de Villaret, who accompanied the visitors, thus made known works from some twenty new stations, notably those of Oued el Hesbaïa and Aïn Naga. In total more than 1,162 engravings have been discovered in the region.
Henri Lhote referred to these engravings in his major work, Les Gravures rupestres du Sud-oranais, which he published in 1970 in the series of the Mémoires du Centre de recherches anthropologiques préhistoriques et ethnographiques (CRAPE). For him they could not "be separated archaeologically from those of south Oran, because they show with some variations the same style, the same technical formulae, the same patinations and the same fauna"(p. 194). It may therefore be possible to analyse them making use of the hypotheses and the classification which he developed. The engravings of the Djelfa region appeared to him like "foreign works, which are a copying (always of inferior quality) from those of south Oran", (p. 193), a region which for the author was "the principal centre of the rock art of the pre-Saharan regions." Some belong to the earliest stage of the large-scale Hartebeest school, like "The Apollo of Ouled Naïl", others are more recent or indeed (stylistically) more decadent.
Regretting "the misreading of the importance of the south Algerian rock art" in the work of Lhote, P. Huard and L. Allard published in 1976 in Lybica (CRAPE, Algiers) an important study on Les figurations rupestres de la région de Djelfa, Sud Algérois. The authors therein recorded forty-three numbered sites or stations which are with some exceptions located near the interior or at the edges of a triangle formed on the north by the town of Djelfa, on the south-west by the village of Sidi Makhlouf and on the south-east by the town of Messaad.
Around the road from Djelfa to Laghouat (just south of Sidi Makhlouf) twenty-three stations are shown: no 28 (Zaccar), 38 (Ishak), 39 (Oued el Youhi), 40 (Guelt el Bidha), 30 (Hadjra Sidi Boubakeur), 31 (Sreissir), 32 (Ben Hallouane), 27 (El Gour), 26 (Ben Hadid), 25 (Kheneg Hilal), 24 (Theniet bou Mediouna II), 23 (Theniet bou Mediouna I), 22 (Theniet el Mzab), 21 (Daïet Geklil), 16 (Oued Mergueb), 20 (Djebel Doum), 19 (Safiet el Baroud), 18 (Morhoma), 33 (Oued Remeila), 34 (Rocher des Pigeons "Pigeon Rock"), 41 (Oued Cheguieg), 17 (Oued el Hesbaïa), 42 (Ntsila). Three stations are in addition mentioned to the east of Djelfa: no 1 (Feidjet Elleben), 2 (Sidi Abdallah ben Ahmed), 3 (Argoub Ezzemla). Three other sites are found to the west: n° 37 (Chouchet Esnober), 36 (Koreiker), 35 (El Idrissia).
Around the road from Djelfa to Messaad (by Moudjbara) twelve stations follow roughly from north to south: no 29 (Saouiet), 4 (Aïn Mouilha), 5 (Daïet es Stel), 6 (Hadjra Mokhotma north), 7 (Hadjara Mokhotma south), 10 (Safiet Bou Khenan)), 9 (Station de l'Autruche "Ostrich"), 8 (Daïet el Hamra), 11 (Bou Sekkin) , 12 (Aïn Naga), 13(Atef el Ghorab), 14 (Oued Tamdit). To the east of Messad two final stations are named: no 43 (Oued el Bouir) and 15 (Amoura).
The engravings are located near dwelling sites, shown by the presence of worked flints and debitage, "stratified in various levels or at the foot of cliffs of reddish sandstone, the patina of which can become nearly black, which run along the djebels or stand at the edges of the oueds." They are "by-and-large arranged in little separate groups", the monumental friezes or very richly decorated murals like those of Oued el Hesbaïa or Aïn Naga being "exceptions".
Recognizing that the engravings of the Djelfa region are "similar to those of south Oran by subject and technique", P. Huard and L. Allard judge however that they have a rich cultural content of their own which, notably, show the ancient buffalo as bearers of attributes of the heads, and the fact that almost all the ovines (sheep) are endowed with classic spheroids or horns enclosed in a ring, which are a later stylization of the motif"(p. 67). According to these authors "The introduction in the most ancient stage of the south-Oranian of rams with spheroids can hardly tally with the south-Algerian material, where the most accomplished depictions are often associated with men in developed costume, whereas others, associated with cattle, are clearly of a pastoral epoch" (p. 71).
What is more "The 'bovidian' stage, which would come only in the fourth place in the sequence of the south-Oranian, where it shows a 'decadant' character, is much more developed in the south Algerian." Deducing that these evidences "show that in the two sectors, its origin must certainly be more ancient", Huard and Allard prefer to speak "of a pastoral stage of long duration, with cows and sheep"(p. 71).
The "Hunters" Stage
In the stage of Hunters the authors gather the depictions of the large wild fauna: ancient buffalo (or Hartebeest), elephants, rhinoceros, lions, ostriches and human figures.
Of the seventeen buffalo recorded in the region, twelve belong to the large, naturalistic art and are similar to those of the south-Oranian. They are found at Oued el Hesbaïa (frieze of three buffalo, including one of more than two meters), Aïn Naga (two buffalo in procession), at Station de l'Autruche (buffalo of 1.50 meters surmounted by a hollowed disc), Djebel Doum (buffalo of 2.35 meters of which the left horn supports a "lengthened semi-circular attribute"), Safiet el Baroud, Hadjra Mokhotma north (buffalo of 2.63 meters, where a human figure seems to touch the horns), Kheneg Hilal (buffalo of 1.20 m.) and Ben Hallouane.
Large, medium or small, the twenty-two elephants seem to belong to various ages. The largest (1 to 2 m), naturalistic in style, are found at Aïn Naga, Theniet bou Mediouna I, Oued Remeilia, Aïn Mouilha, Oued el Hesbaïa (where the "elephant panel", an accumulation of depictions superimposed through the centuries, shows six), Safiet Bou Khenan, Zaccar, Feidjet Elleben and Bou Sekkin.
Seven rhinoceros, of lesser quality and often decadent in style, are recorded at five stations, at Oued Remeila (the oldest), Feidjet Elleben, Bou Sekkin, Aïn Naga, and Oued el Hesbaïa.
Nine representations of Hartebeest antelopes (Bubalis alcelaphus boselaphus) are in naturalistic style. The most famous is that of Zaccar, devoured by a lion (1.50 m in length). A similar scene is found at Daïet el Hamra. At Hadjra Mokhotma north, the animal is confined within a circular trap. Other antelope have been engraved at Safiet el Baroud, Theniet el Mzab and Feidjet Elleben. Otherwise there are numerous antelope-type creatures, often much stylized and in small-scale, like those of Sidi Abdallah ben Ahmed and Safiet bou Khenan, related to the style called the Tazina School, found in south-Oran.
Eighteen in number, the lions represented can be classed into three groups: "naturalistic lions in profile, three times shown in hunting scenes" (Oued el Hesbaïa, Zaccar, Daïet el Hamra, Hadjara Mokhotma north, Oued Remeilia), "fairly large lions with the stylized head facing and the body in profile", "weaker in style and carving method", "late by comparison with the south-Oran prototypes" (Djebel Doum, Kheneg Hilal, Hadjra Mokhotma south), and thirdly the "smaller felines, lightly drawn and generally late", "of mediocre style and carving method"(pp. 81–85).
The ostriches, fairly numerous, are (with the exception of the representations at Safiet bou Khenan and at Oued el Hesbaïa) "generally of a poor quality." boars, in a group of three, are on the other hand rare, limited to the stations of El Idrissia (a lost group) and Sreissir.
The human depictions are forty in number notably at Oued el Hesbaïa, El Gour, Theniet bou Mediouna II, Aïn Naga, Daïet es Stel, Oued Remeilia, Safiet bou Khenan, Hadjra Mokhotma south and Ben Hadid. Authors attribute to them the model of the "twenty-five characteristic traits of physical or psychic valour of the hunter culture" which they have identified "in the Nile area and in various Saharan regions" (p. 85).
Thus they explain the images of men under animal skins, the wearing of false tails and phallic protections, masks, the presence of ithyphallic depictions and of men touching animals (buffalo, antelopes and elephants at Hadjra Mokhotma north, Theniet bou Mediouna II and Bou Sekkin). Among the weapons they record bows, long and curved weapons, clubs, a hatchet and a shield. Several traps are depicted as well as the hands. Thus, "all the cultural traits of hunters are attested in the Djelfa region, apart from the lasso and the spirale (?bolas), which are by compensation strongly represented at Tassili in the Oued Djerat sector."(p. 93).
Early stages of domestication
Several antelopes and cattle carry signs of human appropriation, especially collars. But it is above all about thirty representations of rams which belong rather to the world of shepherds than of hunters, stretching "through a long period going all the way forward to an advanced stage of domestication" (p. 97). Eight among them are rams with spheroids, of which five are associated with human figures (Aïn Naga, Daïet es Stel, Oued el Hesbaïa, Saouiet).
It is in this group that some of the most famous masterpieces of the region are found, such as the Ram of Aïn Naga, about twice natural size, found by Father F. de Villaret and published by the Djelfa Syndicate of Initiative. The animal, which wears a spheroid framed by feathers, a cheek pendant and a collar with chevrons, is led by a man dressed in a loin-cloth with buttons, wearing bracelets, whose hair-do falls across the nape of his neck in three swathes.
Of the other ovines (sc. sheep), sometimes wearing collars, show their horns enclosed in a ring or by discs (only four depictions show only a collar, or appear without attributes). At Hadjra Sidi Boubakeur a group composed of a ram, a ewe and a large bull denotes "a well established domestication" (p. 106). Other rams can be seen at Khenneg Hilal, Oued el Hesbaïa, Safiet bou Khenan, Theniet el Mzab, Hadjra Mokhotma and Aïn Naga.
The rock art of the Djelfa region shows large naturalistic cattle (Zaccar) and sub-naturalistic ones (Bou Sekkin), the others being of the pastoral era. Their horns are similarly closed into a ring and they sometimes wear devices in segments of a circle, or of textile, which are perhaps means of carrying things (Hadjra Sidi Boubakeur, Teniet el Mzab, Hadjra Mohkotma, Ben Hadid, Bou Sekkin, Safiet bou Khenan and Oued Mergueb).
The "pastoral scenes" often associating men and animals are found at Hadjra Sidi Boubakeur, Hadjra Mohkotma sud, Aïn Mouilha (men with "bandes molletières"), ]Morhoma, Daïet es Stel and Zaccar. Other humanly-signifying depictions, ithyphallic images and women displaying, are found at Safiet bou Khenan, Theniet bou Mediouna II and Daïet el Hamra.
At Theniet el Mzab there is also found the famous engraving of a man with three-segmented hair style and square shirt-front, and at Aïn Naga that of the "timid lovers" in which the man carries an object like a haricot, shield or quiver surmounted by arrows, (as in south Oran at Khreloua), a hairdo or a headpiece with a tuft of hair falling forwards and with three swathes falling over the neck (a detail which one sees again at Aïn Naga and in south Oran) while the woman shows a carefully maintained hair arrangement, held behind with a clip.
One also finds among the engravings of the Djelfa region hounds and horses of various dates.
In addition three sites with rock paintings are located at Djebel Doum, at Zaccar south (several archers, a possibly human figure and tortoises) and at Hadjra Mokhotma sud.
In 1968 elements of a lithic industry belonging to the Capsian have been found in situ by D. Grébénart at Aïn Naga and dated to 5500 B.C., plus or minus 220.
The probable ancient regional ecology
North Africa enjoyed a fertile climate during the subpluvial era; what is now the Sahara supported a savanna type of ecosystem, with elephant, giraffe, and other grassland and woodland animals now typical of the Sahel region south of the desert. Historian and Africanist Roland Oliver has described the scene as follows:
[In] the highlands of the central Sahara beyond the Libyan desert,... in the great massifs of the Tibesti and the Hoggar, the mountaintops, today bare rock, were covered at this period with forests of oak and walnut, lime, alder and elm. The lower slopes, together with those of the supporting bastions — the Tassili and the Acacus to the north, Ennedi and Air to the south — carried olive, juniper and Aleppo pine. In the valleys, perennially flowing rivers teemed with fish and were bordered by seed-bearing grasslands.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Algerian War" and "Rock art of the Djelfa region", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.