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Tighenif Site

Tighenif Site

At the time, estimated to be 700 thousand years old. These jaws are distinguished by their massive construction and are close to the jaws of the upright man, such as Sinanthropus pekinensis, also known as Beijing Man. Nonetheless, they have a number of characteristics that separate it from the latter, thus rendering it to stand out as a new type of human fossils. It was considered to be the oldest remains of north African humans. Besides these jaws were found extinct animal remains, many stone tools made from Quartzite poorly finished, and other tools made of limestone and flint include many cleavers and hand axes. All are considered to be the oldest types of human fabrications/industry (the Acheulean Epiphilic industry).

    Tighenif is one of the towns of the Wilaya of Mascara West Algeria. It is approximately 20 KM from downtown, and is surrounded by the mountains of Beni Shakran, lighthouses and a tower, with two large natural pools, El In K’bira and El In S’ghira, which are amongst the most beautiful landmarks of the city. Moreover,the city knew a large number of incomers and visitors since the eras of the Rustamid and Almohad It has been scientifically proven, that the waters of In Reqada, located in the city of Tighenif, are an effective cure for kidney patients. They are approximately 500 meters above sea level. Linguistically, the term Tighenifin (Tighenif) mean in the Amazigh language “the Two Pools.” The town was known as Palikao, as dubbed by the French colonization, after a Chinese town with the same name. The history behind the naming of the town goes back to September 21st, 1860, when the French and English armies went into hiding in said town in China, under the leadership of General Kozan Montoya, against the Mancho army, during the Chinese conflict with the British-French alliance. 

   For the record, the historical site of Tighenif spans around 35 Ha, and is classified as a national cultural heritage. Despite the fact that French historians date the discovery of bones and tools to around 700 thousand years ago, Algerian historians tend to skepticize the date and speculate that the ruins in these sites go back to a million years ago.

    In recent years, Tighenif has become a destination for local and foreign researchers and archaeologists for the excavation of the site. This process falls within the framework of efforts concerted by all specialists, that aim at reconsidering prehistorical studies, in a modern, scientific and multilateral approach. This activity falls within the program of National Research Center for Prehistory , Anthropology, and History.  Specialized scientific envoys, that have frequented the site, discovered human skeletons and extinct animal remains. One of the prominent and renown team of scientists is Professor Sahnouni’s team (lead by him), that includes 24 researchers in different majors, including four Spanish historians, whose mission was to collect samples from the site to later archive using new modern techniques. These teams have spent 3 weeks on the site, tirelessly digging, excavating and investigating the remains of the Tighenif human, during the Paleolithic age.

    It is noteworthy to highlight that this mission was the second of its kind from the same team, the first one being in March, 2013. The first mission allowed the researchers to find a number of animal remains, and stone tools, but were not enough, which thus prompted a second mission. The latter uncovered findings in the northern section of the site, that included hundreds of skeletons, and stone-made tools, used by the Paleolithic  man, in addition to animal skeletons such as elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. The findings also included a set of carnivores bones, bovines, giraffes, deer, and sea animals that went extinct and no longer exist in our time. The excavators made a one-of-its-kind discovery in this site, which was the finding of animal fossils along with stone tools. A discovery that, according to specialists, suggests a relationship between humans who lived in the area, their tools and the remains of their food. 

   According to these findings, the president of the scientific team doubted the known history told about the site - previously estimated to be 700 thousand years old - and did not eliminate the hypothesis of rewriting the history of the Tighenif human and setting its age to approximately 900 thousand years ago, or a million years ago. 

    The director of the National Research Center for Prehistory , Anthropology, and History, Professor Souleiman Hachi, on Thursday, September 25th, 2014 in Tighenif (Mascara) declared that researchers affiliated with the research center, and a number of scientific bodies, had found animal remains, and tools previously used by the old Tighenif man. These findings corroborate the discovery of the team lead by Professor Sahnouni Mohamed, who state that these remains could be older than 900 thousand years, and perhaps close to a million.