"We're motoring out to some very old Garamantic ruins tomorrow."
Creative Commons AttributionTouareg - Credit: Martijn Munneke

The modern Touareg are descended from the Garamantes. They were a Saharan people of Berber-Negroid origin who used an elaborate underground irrigation system, and founded a kingdom in the Sahara desert in an area that is now in Libya. They were a local power in the Sahara between 500 BC and 500 AD. There is not much information about them, including what they called themselves. Garamantes is what the Greeks and Romans called them. Current research indicates that the Garamantes had about eight major towns, three of which have been examined.

The ruins include numerous tombs, forts, and cemeteries. The Garamantes constructed a network of underground tunnels and shafts to mine the fossil water from under the limestone layer under the desert sand. It was built around 200 BC to 200 AD. The network of tunnels is known to Berbers as Foggaras. The network allowed agriculture to flourish, but it required the use of slaves to maintain.


Garamantic Ruins
Creative Commons AttributionGaramantic Ruins - Credit: Katy Tzaralunga