Before the Sahara became a desert, it was home to many savanna animals, including the giraffe. People began to paint and etch the Sahara's animals in desert rock about 12,000 years ago. Archaeologists estimate that the oldest remaining pictures date back to 6500 B.C.
Roundhead rock art, Tassili mountains, Algeria. Neolithic? (c. 7000-4600 BCE). Example of Nilo-Saharan rock art. Early Holocene (c. 9th mill. BCE). Images of buffalo, giraffe, elephant in earlier images- this later image includes round-head style and preoccupation with hunter-gatherer activities. Shows evidence of repopulation of Sahara after the Younger Dryas.
Algeria has long been noted for its rich concentrations of rock art, particularly in the Tassili n’Ajjer, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. More than 15,000 paintings and engravings, some of which date back up to 12,000 years, provide unique insights into the environmental, social, cultural and economic changes. The area is particularly famous for its Round Head paintings, first described and published in the 1930s by French archaeologist Henry Lhote.