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The first immigrants are thought to have come to the Sahara region about 10.000 B.C., when it was a fertile area thanks to the abundant rainfall. They were hunter- gatherers who painted wild animals on the rock surfaces in Libya and Algeria. The Neolithic period, where the populations of the Sahara evolved toward a sedentary and agrarian life is heralded by the appearance of the first ceramic vessels ca. 6000 B.C.

Grindstones such as this one are a clear indication of this new lifestyle. Used to grind grain on a regular, and the repetitive motion of this activity resulted in a smooth surface that brings out the natural beauty of the stone used.

The Ténéré culture originated in the Sahara desert region between the Aïr Mountains in the west and the Tibesti Mountains in the east, in present-day Niger. There was a strong concentration of sites on the eastern edge of the Aïr massif, in particular around Areshima. Ténéré is well known since the Berliet mission “Ténéré- Tchad” in 1960.

The first climatic changes in the Sahara region occurred as early as 3200 B.C. The progressive polarisation of dry and wet seasons, in combination with the steady decline of rainfall in general and its concentration to particular regions, caused a continuous deterioration of the living conditions in the region. Overpopulation led to erosion and further degradation of the environment, which in time brought about the depopulation of the great Saharan plains around 2500 B.C.


Klenkler C.E., Sahara: Objets préhistoriques / Prähistorische Artefakte, Geneva 2003.

Klenkler C.E., Sahara: Prähistorische Artefakte 2, Geneva 2003.

Object information

Date and place:
Sahara, Algeria, Neolithic (8000 - 2500 B.C.)
55 x 43 cm
Acquired on the Belgian art market; Private collection dr. Karl-Ernst Beinert, Pfinztal, Germany, by descent; collected 1950-1970.

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