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This rugged, carved megalith, distinctive for its lyrelike shape, was originally among more than one thousand stone monuments positioned in some ninety-three circles within a sixty-two mile band extending along the Gambia River. Four major concentrations of these have been found, including at the site of Wanar, which saw consistent if discontinuous occupation from the late second millennium B.C. until the twelfth century A.D. The creators of these enigmatic monuments were likely highly mobile herder farmers belonging to intermediate-scale communities. Their members may have periodically assembled at ritually specified times and been unified by a common regional identity.

Megalith, Lateritic conglomerate

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Photo: Antoine Tempé