Giraffe Rock Art Site

Completed Project
World Monuments Watch
Agadez, Niger

The engravings of Agadez, on the edge of the Aïr Natural World Heritage Site, is one of the most extraordinary rock art sites in the region, consisting of over 800 prehistoric images drawn on a large, standstone outcrop. The images of giraffes, the most important of the carvings, are thought to be nearly 8,000 years old. Although more research must be done, it seems likely that the site held spiritual significance for the surrounding community. The artists may have been ancestors of today’s nomadic Tuareg and Berber peoples. While known to people for some time, the site was only systematically documented in 1997.

2000 World Monuments Watch

A significant contribution from WMF was the improvement of signage at the site informing visitors of the importance of the carvings and the need to enjoy the rock art in a respectful and careful manner to ensure the endurance of the images. The Trust for African Rock Art monitors the site and provides stewardship and assistance to visitors. Listing on the 2000 Watch raised awareness of the site and support was secured from American Express to map and record the rock art at the site. The development of controlled access, designated campsites, waste removal, water, and other tourism amenities was undertaken through this support, including the creation of walkways to prevent foot-traffic damage to the rock art.

This rock art in the Sahara is considered to be of unique cultural, scientific, and historic importance as it represents the earliest visual communication in the region. The giraffes, in particular, are impressive for their life-sized scale, perfect proportion, and artistic execution.

Last updated: February 2019.

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