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Messak Settafet & Mellet


engraving fromMessak

 

The name Messak Settafet & Mellet is also found as Mesach Mellet & Settafed, and as Amsach Mellet & Settafed (as in Google maps). In EWP's Djebel Akakus (Jebel Acacus) Tourist Map & Guide they are marked as Msak Mustafit & Msak Mallat. 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. Experts believe that the sandstone does not contain such minerals and that its age, around 5000 years, coincides with the period when this part of the Sahara was very wet and hence the time when the patina was formed. The following engraving shows the light sandstone beneath the patina:

 

messak settafet and mellet rock engraving on black stone

 

The half-moon-shaped mountain range is located between Wadi Alajal from the north and Edhan Murzuk (or Murzuq) from the south, and it extends a few hundred kilometers south-west towards the sand dunes of Wan Casa, just before the eastern side of Acacus. The western part of this mountain range (near Acacus, or bottom-left in the above map) is Messak Mellet, and the eastern part of the plateau is Messak Settafet (top-right side of the map), which slowly dips to level with the sand dunes of Edhan Murzuq and thus appearing to be no more than a flat Hamada (rocky plain), where this tree still stands alone.

 

solitary tree in Messak hamada

 

 

engraving

 

The engraving techniques include: grinding, pecking and scratching. Generally the engraving was contoured by grinding a U- or V-shaped lines on the rock, the strongest of which measure about 6 to 7 centimeters deep. The surface stone varies in hardness from soft sandstone to rigid quartzite and pure silex (flint). The initial lines were scratched, and then masterfully ground, probably using water, to a beautiful finish. Some of these drafts can be found around where the work was never finished.

 

rock engraving

cat engraving

engraving

engraving

 

 

Messak Settafet & Mellet