Round Head Period (Sahara)

The paintings from this period – huge, fantastic images of elaborately attired human figures – are confined mainly to southern Algeria and southern Libya. These are some of the world’s largest rock paintings. One figure alone stands more than five and a half metres in height.

The majority of Round Head paintings portray strange people with round featureless heads and formless bodies, sometimes appearing to float or swim through space as though experiencing out-of-body travel, suggesting a connection with shamanism. Women, when depicted, are normally shown with raised hands, as though seeking blessings from the huge male figures that tower above them. They seem to portray a gentle and ethereal world where man bows to the lords of nature. Shards of decorated neolithic pottery have survived from this period.

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