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.
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).
Fazzanian graves from the Late
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
Bir Ben Ghanima
Two people, each riding an animal, adjacent
to lines sketching a geraf.
These hunting stones, used to hunt animals,
are on display in Germa Museum.
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?
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.
Acheulian Oval and Pear-Shaped
Hand-Axes & Stone Tools
Acheulean (Acheulian) culture
belongs to the
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, however, 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.
This text from the museum gives a general description of life around
the lake west of Alfuqaha oasis
during the stone age