The Early Holocene in North Africa and in the Sahara, is characterized by climatic fluctuations which affected human behavior and cultural trajectories regarding occupation, food procurement and resource management (e.g., Cremaschi and di Lernia 1999; Kuper and Kröpelin 2006). The excavation of the Takarkori rockshelter in the Tadrart Acacus Mountains (Southwest Libya, Central Sahara) offers a unique context with a long and well-preserved Holocene archaeological deposit. In fact, the chrono-cultural sequence of human occupation spans from the huntergatherer-fishers (HGF) of the Late Acacus (LA) period up to the Late Pastoral Neolithic (LPN), lasting from approximately 10,200 to 4600 cal. BP in radiocarbon chronology (Biagetti and di Lernia 2013). Late Acacus HGF occupation is characterized by various archaeological remains which indicate different environments, availability of resources and rather complex subsistence strategies, involving selective and intensive plant exploitation (Cremaschi et al. 2014; Dunne et al. 2016; Olmi et al. 2011). Moreover, there are hints of corralling wild animals (Biagetti and di Lernia 2007) and a large amount of well-preserved animal droppings, coprolites, both as part of thick and laminated layers, and as isolated pellets in more loose sediments, were recovered in the stratigraphic sequence. Given the highly informative nature of this kind of evidence for palaeoenvironmental and cultural reconstructions (e.g. di Lernia 2001; Linseele et al. 2010; Mercuri 1999), coprolites from Early Holocene levels have been examined along various lines of investigation with the aim of shading new lights on animal management strategies among Early Holocene Saharan foragers. ... The study highlights how animal dung is a valuable archaeological proxy, providing information about animal husbandry, exploitation and reconstruction of the past environment, activity area, site structure, economic and cultural transformations in past societies (di Lernia 2000; Mercuri 2008). The evidence collected confirms the sophisticated forms of managing wild animals, likely Barbary sheep, among Early Holocene HGF of the LA phase. Not only feeding the animals with selected fodder as seen at Uan Afuda (Mercuri 1999), but also building and organizing specific facilities accordingly their dwellings.
Herding Barbary Sheep in Early Holocene Sahara / Rotunno, Rocco; Fornaciari, Rita; Boscaini, Michela; Mercuri, Anna Maria; di Lernia, Savino. - (2018), pp. 72-74. (Intervento presentato al convegno 14th Conference of Environmental Archaeology tenutosi a Modena nel 26-28 Febbraio 2018).