| ||In the Sahara there are a large number of tombs from the Neolithic period, which extended from the first appearance of agriculture some 10,000 years ago to the first forms of writing 5,000 to 4,000 years ago. Generally they are simple structures covered with a pile of similarly sized stones to form a tumulus. In Tassili N'Ajjer these enclosed sepulchers are particularly numerous, and the oldest of them date back some 5,500 years. Systematically dug into the hills, they are visible from far away. There is a first circle around the tumulus, beneath which lies the burial chamber, and a second circle surrounding the whole structure. Only men were buried there, laid on their side with their heads facing east. There are thousands of such painted or engraved relics in the Sahara going back thousands of years, and they make this desert into the world's largest open-air museum of the Neolithic period.
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