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The phenomenon of rock art is becoming more and more a subject of global interest and concern. Rock art is one of the most visible components of the archaeological record. Above all rock inscriptions serve as a valuable source of information about the important era of the introduction of writing in early societies.

One of the most important and less known types of ancient scripts of North African history is the group of Libyco-Berber scripts, spread all over the northern part of Africa - from Libya to the Canary Islands.

However, this important source is in danger to be destroyed in manifold ways. In the face of ever-increasing tourism, road construction and even visitor traffic to archaeological sites, rock art sites are being subjected to unprecedented levels of destruction. Therefore, there is a real and urgent need to systematically record the rock art before it is degraded and to store this information in a medium that will not fade or otherwise disintegrate with time. Thus it will be available for future generations of researchers all over the world for purposes of analysis and comparison.


1. Elaboration of a standardized database system for the storing of rock inscriptions

2. Documentation of all relevant data of each rock inscriptions site, panel and line of script using standardized field recording forms

3. Documentation of each Libyco-Berber inscription by digitalized photo and drawing

4. Establishment of a comprehensive and updated bibliography subdivided into geographical and thematic groups

5. Analysis of each inscription by epigraphic and linguistic commentaries

6. All these steps will be done in cooperation with international and local authorities and institutions

7. Presentation of the database within the framework of the homepage of INSTITUTUM CANARIUM, so that the whole documentation and interpretation can be used by the interested lay public as well as by academic scholars and researchers worldwide


The LBI-project is based on the activities of INSTITUTUM CANARIUM in cooperation with Canary and North-African authorities, universities and researchers.
The aim of the LBI-online-database is to present all known Libyco-Berber inscriptions of the Canary Islands and of several regions of Northern Africa, starting with Morocco.
For the moment approximately 190 panels and 350 lines of inscription are known and documented on the Canary Islands, most of them on El Hierro, followed by Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, only single ones on Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera.
Morocco provides for the moment about 110 rock panels and additionally about 30 steles with Libyco-Berber inscriptions.

Information has been broken down into two main types: SITE and INSCRIPTION.

SITE includes information about the physical and political location of the site, its type, the number of inscriptions and - if available - photographs of the landscape.

INSCRIPTION includes all information about one panel. Each inscription is documented by photograph and drawing and interpreted by epigraphic and linguistic commentaries.

A comprehensive listing of the references can be found at REFERENCES.

General information about the Libyco-Berber script is presented at SCRIPT, about the different alphabets at ALPHABET.

CONCORDANCE should help to avoid misunderstandings in different languages by providing a multilingual list of special terms and definitions.

EPIGRAPHIC CONVENTIONS gives a short explanation of some conventions used for the transliteration of the inscriptions.

MAPS provide geographical overviews over the sites of a country/region.

Because of increasing methods of digitalized photography and computer aided analysis we nowadays are able to create drawings of the inscriptions which are more accurate than those made ten or twenty years ago. Therefore some of the drawings shown now in this database differ in details from those published in earlier papers.
All information within this database is presented to the best of our knowledge and belief. If one has better or more detailed information he is kindly asked to contact the webmaster.

COMMENT: All visitors of the page are invited to write guest-comments: private opinions, suggestions, additions or corrections to the whole database as well as to special inscriptions.

The database is, of course, open for including additional inscriptions. Everyone is invited to contribute photographs, drawings and data of own discoveries: they will be included with guarantee of personal copyright.