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Rock art exhibit, Sharm Peace Park

Prehistoric rock art documents a wetter climate acsoss the Sahara Desert

Long ago, leopards, elephants and giraffes roamed the then lush wadis and savannas of today’s deserts. Prehistoric man recorded scenes of a wetter climate; his magnificent rock art, scattered in many places across Egypt’s deserts depicted animals that are now locally extinct.

The Sahara was essentially uninhabited during the millennia before 11,000 years ago, as conditions were more arid than they are today. As the arid belt became wetter – 10,000 to 6,000 years ago – vegetation and wildlife flourished. The desert was then reoccupied by hunter gatherers. After 7,000 years ago, cattle herding emerged and increased during spells of climate deterioration. As nomads of the cattle cult searched for new pastures they scattered their rock paintings across the desert. After 6,000 years ago, the climate started changing back towards aridity. As the desiccation advanced, sheep and goat herding became established. By 5,000 years ago, cattle herding disappeared outside the oases, leaving hunting as man's main activity. By 4,000 years ago the climate had become similar to that of the present day.

The exhibit at the Peace Park in Sharm El Shiekh displays some of this pre-historic rock art along with explanatory text and maps which demonstrate to the visitor the concept of climate change.

* The construction of these facilities was made possible with the support of EEAA.