The first report of the presence of rock carvings in Morocco dates back to 1876, when the Rabbi Mordecai gave news of ‘existence of such evidence in’ Anti-Atlas in Tazeroualt. After seventy-five, was identified a second area affected by the presence of rock art manifestations, this time in the High Atlas.
Overall, the rock art of Morocco is characterized by the wide variety of themes, techniques and topographic locations of its manifestations. The phenomenon depends on the rock art spread in three distinct geographical and climatic zones with each other: the High Atlas, the pre-Saharan region and the North Atlantic Sahara.
Four are the predominant subjects in the repertoire of engravings: weapons, geometric forms, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. Under the theme, mainly, of the weapons can be distinguished: daggers, ‘halberds, axes, boomerangs, slingshots, spears, javelins, bows and arrows, as well as shields and wagons. The geometric representations, often read as enigmatic images., feature a variety of circles, semicircles, triangles, cruciform motifs, checkerboard, curved or serpentine designs, as well as series of dots and domes. The anthropomorphic figures may be isolated or in association with elements that are part of the clothing and armament or even together with zoomorphic figures: cats, jackals, elephants, antelopes and ostriches; among pets prevail cattle.
This rocky area corresponds to a broad geographical group, formed by the chain of the Anti Atlas and its appendices Sahara, south of which is the Jebel Bani.This set is crossed by several “ouidian” tributaries of Draa. The graphic groupings are defined in relation to the outlets of this river system and its inland basins.In the archives of the old inventory compiled by the Directorate of Cultural Heritage in 1977 it is filed more than a hundred rock art stations. The subjects that appear on the gritty slabs, horizontal or vertical, fixed or mobile, are numerous and include wild animal species: elephants, cats, rhinos, giraffes, antelopes, buffalo or “small buffalo”,birds (ostriches, flamingos) reptiles (snakes) and domestic species, including cattle and sheep but also canines and equines. No shortage of geometric shapes – concentric circles, spirals, “traps” and other signs – nor the anthropomorphic figures, armed or not, the horse and foot, singly or in groups. Finally, there are depictions of weapons, both metal and non-metallic, and wagons, including the chariot called “Sahara”.
The region includes the area bounded on the south by Ras (Cape) Boujdour and north by the lower course of the Draa: within these limits fall largely the basins of Tindouf and Laayoune. The areas, in which petroglyphs are preserved, are located mostly around the Oued Seguiet el Hamra and within its water network. The themes represented are not different from those at issue in the pre-Saharan region and here are zoomorphic figures (wild and domestic animals), geometric shapes, anthropomorphic figures, from jet weapons and inscriptions. Even the techniques and styles don’t show particular differences from those adopted in the pre-Saharan area, especially for the recurrence of incisions from the smoothed contours according to the style ‘of Tazina », the use of punching and for the presence of subjects achieved by incised lines. These similarities lead u to consider the area of the North Atlantic Sahara as a natural extension of the pre-Saharan region.