germa museum, fezzan, south Libya

Germa Museum

The entrance to Germa Museum, Fezzan, Libya.

The Museum of Germa is a unique Libyan museum, housing some of the most interesting archaeological finds of the Garamantian Kingdom of Fezzan, including funerary items, costumes, Acheulean stone implements, and Berber inscriptions. No tour to Fezzan would be complete without paying a visit to this small museum in the desert.

stone implements from the acheulean age, in Germa museum, in  Fezzan

Some of the stone implements found in numerous sites from the Fezzan area are on display in Germa Museum. The stones were dated to the late Acheulean and the Aterian cultures (between 100,000 to 30,000 BC).

germa museum, fezzan, libya, graves from the late stone age

Fazzanian graves from the Late Stone Age

Stone Slabs

Bodies were covered with leather in a vertical hole, then filled with sand, and covered with flat stones (as those shown) to form a truly prehistoric burial chamber or grave. The Arabic text beneath the illustration of the graves says: from the evidence presented we are justified to date these graves to the Late Old Stone Age (probably meaning the Late Stone Age, which began about 50,000 years ago). The stone age is divided into three periods: Old, Middle and Late, corresponding to the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic Periods. The transition from the Middle Stone Age to the Late Stone Age was marked by technological improvements of the techniques used to prepare the stones, particularly the appearance of fine microliths (or small stone tools & implements).



germa museum, fezzan, Bir Ghanima prehistoric drawings





bir ghanima description text

Bir Ben Ghanima
Two people, each riding an animal, adjacent to lines sketching a geraf.





prehistoric hunting stones from germa museum in the Sahara

These hunting stones, used to hunt animals, are on display in Germa Museum.




prehistoric dancing or ritualistic scene from germa museum, fezzan

Prehistoric Saharan painting from Germa Museum, Fezzan, Libya, showing a group of women (or priestesses) in what appears to be a ritualistic or ceremonial dance or offering of some sort; the presence of cattle and an ostrich may indicate the ceremony was undertaken in association with hunting, as to magically attempt to ensure the success of the hunt. The fat figure in the centre is the question one needs to ask. Is it a fertility ceremony? Or is it just a dance?



Stone Altars

offering tables and hand altars from Germa

Garamantian Offering Tablets & Hand-Shaped Altars

These offering tablets were widely found in Fezzan an belong to the Garamantian civilisation. They were used for sacrificial purposes during worship. Some of the altars and tablets are clearly hand-shaped, recalling the famous Berber Hand, generally found across North Africa. The hand symbolism ties quite well with the idea of offering as the hand itself is often used to offer offerings to the gods.




poster of stone age blades

Acheulian Oval and Pear-Shaped Hand-Axes & Stone Tools


Acheulean (Acheulian) culture belongs to the Lower Paleolithic era across Africa, particularly the central parts of Africa which now we know as the Sahara. It is characterised by the distinctive pear-shaped hand-axes, just as illustrated in the above poster from Germa Museum in southern Libya. The name itself comes from the French village Saint Acheul where the culture was first identified. Further research led to Africa as the source of the culture as well as the people who carried the culture afar. Archaeologists generally agree that the Acheulian culture started in Africa and then spread to West Asia and Europe when waves of homo erectus left Africa to colonise Europe and Asia more than one million years ago.




arabic text descriping stone age activity in Germa

This text from the museum gives a general description of life around the lake west of Alfuqaha oasis during the stone age