A note on some petroglyphs of the Moroccan High Atlas

Giacomo Tripodi

Abstract


The rock carvings of Oukaimeden, an altitude valley of Moroccan High Atlas, were possibly engraved around the end of the third millennium BC. Some of these glyphs are examined herein, paying a special attention to those with a discoid shape, carved on the glossy surface of about horizontal slabs of red sandstone. Carved in the inner space of one of these glyphs there are two symmetrical series of arcs turned toward the center, which is marked by a central hollow. Although the discoid glyphs are usually interpreted as shields, it is suggested that if completed with a vertical rod inserted in its center, one of the glyphs may act as a rudimentary device usable to recognize the autumnal equinox. Knowing such days also in a very approximate way was of special interest in a shepherd community, forced in autumn to move the herds from altitude pastures to the plains, avoiding heavy rains along the mountain paths. Further meanings of discoid glyphs are discussed, as well as the possible significance of some small hollows carved in definite number along their western outer side or, in other carvings, set in linear arrangements.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1478/AAPP.961SC1

Copyright (c) 2018 Giacomo Tripodi

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