This Berber Museum does not exist in the real world. It is built here in this
gallery to collect various archaeological, cultural and historical items relating
to Tamazight heritage, and allow e-visitors the opportunity to know
more about the Berbers' way of life in North Africa. Some of the following
exhibits are prehistoric (like those from the caves of the Sahara); other items
date from before the Greek Period (like the Slontha Grotto); while some are Pre-Roman
(like those from Ghirza). Many of the photos come from our online museums of
objects displayed in the actual museums of Jado (Nafousa), Sabratha, Germa, Ghadames,
Leptis Magna and Janzur, as well as from our collection of photos from the various
Berber settlements and archaeological sites in Libya including Acacus, Awjla,
Cyrene, Ghadames, Ghat, Ghirza, Jalo, Jado, Kabaw, Nalut, Slontha, Wadi Messak,
Yefren and Zuwarah.
The Museum of Germa is a unique museum, housing some of the most interesting
archaeological finds of the Garamantian Kingdom and earlier civilisations of
Fezzan, including funerary items, costumes, Acheulean stone implements, and Berber
inscriptions. 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). Acheulean 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. The following image at the museum of Germa shows an illustration
of a grave chamber below the ground. Bodies were covered with leather in a vertical
hole, then filled with sand, and covered with flat stones to form a truly prehistoric
This prehistoric work of art comes from the Messak Settafet & Mellet,
near Wadi Metkhandoush, Southern Libya. The valleys are rich in unique rock engraves,
estimated to be at least 12,000 years old. The exposed stones are covered with
dark varnish colouring known as patina. This layer is apparently a few microns
thick of oxides of iron and manganese.
Unique Berber 8-pointed star, built on wall, Ghadames.
Slontha Grotto, Cyrenaica, Libya.
Slontha Temple is a small, ancient, Libyan temple dating to the period before
the Greek occupation, to the Berber period. The temple is also known by the names
Slonta, Aslonta, Slontha, Suluntah, or Salantah. It was partially damaged during
flooding due to heavy rain, but was restored in 1993. Located in the village
of Aslanta Lasamisis, about 24 km south of al-Bayda, the temple is hidden high
in the Green Mountain's groves, just where ancient temples were expected to be.
In an area rich in caves, most of which are facing south, the Slontha structure
incorporates a local architecture unique to the area, consisting of a low semicircular
entrance, with cylindrical columns in the middle of the cave, 96 cm high and
120 cm in diameter. Circular tombs and stone circles are found all over North
Africa and the Sahara, some of which date from prehistoric times. The temple
is rich in carvings of human faces, unusual human figures and animals, disembodied
heads, and slender bodies engraved directly onto the rocks, in a style totally
unique to the temple. Some of these figures, unlike any of the ancient representations
of the surrounding cultures, are in a seated position, in what appears to be
a deeply religious gathering, probably in association with the worship of the
Berber Slontha Grotto
Ghirza was an ancient Berber farming community, located in Wadi Ghirza, about
156 miles south-south-east of Tripoli, before it was later occupied by the Romans
during their invasions of Libya. Its archaeological remains include at least
eighteen fortified farmhouses, with wells and cisterns to catch rain water, the
remains of a standard Berber olive-press, cemeteries and temples. Although presently
there are no palm trees in the area, they were frequently pictured in the
sculptures in the mausoleums. The name Ghirza appears in several place-names
of classical times, such as the Roman civitas Gurzensis and the Gurza of
Ptolemy. Its chief Sun-God Ghurza was a prophesy god, whose faceless mass was
said to represent the image of the deceased in a seated position, and thus he
is represented as the offspring of the Libyan prophetic god Amon. There
were about twenty small votive altars in the debris of the temple, on three of
which were inscriptions
in the ancient Berber script known as Tifinagh (the Libyan Alphabet);
most of which are still awaiting deciphering. The destroyed temple was later
rebuilt as a Berber house, with more inscriptions scratched on the plaster of
Tomb Door, Ghirza, Libya.
This door was found in a tomb, and thought to help the soul enter the tomb to
visit the body of the deceased; probably to keep unwanted stray souls away from
the body of the deceased king or queen.
Berber Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, Leptis Magna.
Tuareg Assrou n Swoul
Private collection of temehu.com
The Berber Fortified Granary, Qasr Alhaj, Nafousa Mountain, Libya.
Stone Mills (Querns)
Stone age stone mortars on display at the Museum of Lybia, Tripoli.
The Sahara is rich in stone artifacts, fossils and flint tools. The stone
mortars shown above appear to represent some of the earliest forms of stone mortars.
Of course, the original one must have been just a stone (without a base), since
our ancestors used stones to break and cut with, just as chimpanzees and other
primates still use stone to crack nuts.
Stone mortar from Jado Museum.
Querns from Qasr Alhaj.
With time, the need to grind large quantities of grain led our ancestors
to use circular motion, instead of vertical pounding, to achieve better results.
The above quern is widely used today by the Berbers. The top stone has a hole
(barely visible at the far end), in which a stick is secured to turn the stone.
Berber Tasirt ('Quern'), Jado Museum, Nafousa.
Leather skins are also still in use, and provide comfortable and warm seats;
especially the fluffy sheep skins. But also they can be used as mats upside down
for grinding and other Berber kitchen activity.
Large stone mill, Leptis Magna Museum.
Large stone quern, with two wooden handles: heavy-duty mill for grinding large
quantities of grain, and probably to produce finer flour. Animals may have been
used to turn the stone round.
Brass pestle & mortar.
From Jado Museum, Nafousa Mountain, Western Libya.
Ineer: a large oil lamp.
Usual clay oil lamp.
Albarouni Museum was created and built by the young people of Jado to preserve
and represent their Berber heritage. The visitor will be rewarded with genuine
items and models of traditional crafts and industries as well as ancient archaeological
Jado museum. Most items in the museum are labeled in both Berber and Arabic scripts.
Ancient Berber tomb, showing an altar with candles,
from Termisen or Termisa, Jado, Nafousa.
Wall painting currently in display in Sabratha Museum.
Ghadames Berber Interior Design: red, yellow and green paint on white walls.
Ghadames house corridor, with red paint designs on white walls.
Traditional Berber house, Ghadames. The house is open for visitors to visit.
Traditional industries based on palm leaves and coloured fabrics. Palm leaves
are an important material in the desert. They are used for various objects and
tools, from ropes and strings to baskets and mats.
The Evolution of Ghadamsian Doors
Weaving Stand (Loom)
Traditional wooden and leather tools used in everyday Berber life.
Food covers (inda), made of woven palm leaves (opposite),
and clay pots and jars (on either side).
Tuareg rare vintage mat
Burial jars from the tombs of Janzur Catacomb Museum.
Jalo & Awjla
Ancient mud mosque from the Berber oasis of Awjla, in Eastern Libyan.
The location of the Berber oases Jalo & Awjla in Eastern Libya lies at
a strategic caravan route linking Egypt, coastal Libya and the interior of the
Sahara. The oases produced high quality palm dates which they used to trade for
other commodities. Located about 400 km to the south of Benghazi, the oases are
surrounded by oil fields; but it does not seem they had benefited from these
local natural resources. This location without a doubt had attracted a number
of foreign comers, as can be deduced from the archaeological remains still found
in the area: the oasis of Awjla, for example, was said to be the home of a number
of old grave yards, each of which was known by a special name.