Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ancient Burial in the Sahara Tell a Poignant Tale of Tragedy and Love

Around twelve thousand of years ago, the Sahara was green. It had a lush forest cover where people used to live in and die in. In the early 2000s, paleontologists hunting for dinosaur bones discovered a graveyard of two peoples that lives thousands of years apart, the Kiffians from the earlier green period, and the Tenerians from the later part. The inhabitants of the Green Sahara disappeared along with the forests. Around 3,500 years ago, the sands which once covered the Green Sahara reclaimed the land.

A photo by Mike Hettwer from the National Geographic site article on the Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara shows a woman and her two children buried with hands apparently clasped by the mourners in a display of love. One of the children's face is turned towards the elder one, as if saying, "Don't leave me, mother." It is not clear how the three died, but researchers speculate they all died on the same day. Pollen in the burial area showed that the "mother and children" were laid to rest on flowers.

You can view Hettner's photo of the excavation of the woman and child burial through this link.

View more of Mike Hettner's photos of the excavation of the burial site of the Tenerians and Kiffians here.

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