Wadi Tidwa (Tidoua)

a view of Wadi Tidwa

Wadi Tidwa, in Messak Mellet, is the home of some of the strangest rock paintings and engravings of the Libyan Sahara.
Powerfully expressive and rich in unknown mythology.


the lycaon man from tidwa

The Lycaon Man engraving, from Wadi Tidwa (Tidoua), Messak Mellet.

the Lycaon man from wadi Tidwa: a human with an animal head


The art of the Messak Mellet and Messak Settafet is wonderfully explored by Rudiger and Gabriele Lutz in their fantastic book "The Secret   Of The Desert, The Rock Art of Messak Sattafet And Messak Mellet (1995)".


In page 158, they wrote:  "Lycaon man (width 50, height 72), Wadi Tidoua. 11RV22 Bas-relief of a lycaon man with an oversized head. The creature has human features. It carries an emblem, probably a lion head. Only in engravings of the southern Messak Mellet do such figures convey the impression of worldly chiefs having appropriated the power of the lycaon – the mystical “Robusta”.


The name lycaon comes from Greek lukos (wolf) + anthropos (man): the transformation of a human being into a wolf, or Lycanthropy. In populat folklore, Werewolf (wer ‘man’ + wulf ‘wolf’) is a person who takes the shape of a wolf. Can we draw a connection between the two? Dows the story has its origin in the Sahara? Most probably yes.


engraving of an ostrich

An engraving of an ostrich?

mystical tidwa

Mystical woman performing some sort of a ritual or ceremony!


cattle engravings


an engraving of a woman and other figures and animals