Archaeologist Byron Khun de Prorok discovered a massive tomb at Abalessa, Algeria, near Tamanrasset, in the Hoggar mountain range, in 1925. The tomb held the bones of a woman who was buried with excellent jewelry, but it did not garner the same level of attention as other ancient finds. In the 1920s, archaeologists made numerous discoveries, notably Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Scientists at the time mostly ignored Prorok, who was known as the “original tomb raider” of his time.
However, because of his fascination with old traditions, the Polish-American amateur archaeologist embarked on an expedition into the Saharan desert alongside the French, where they uncovered the woman’s massive tomb. It is said to be Tin Hinan’s grave, according to local legend. “This circular structure was made of stone and was positioned on a hill overlooking a dried riverbed, or wadi. It stood over 4 meters (13 feet) tall and had a diameter of nearly 23 meters (75 feet),” according to Ancient Origins.
Tin Hinan, whose name means “woman of the tents,” is recognized as the Tuareg people’s ancient ancestress and the first leader to unite the Tuareg nation. According to locals, Tin Hinan moved to Algeria’s mountainous region with her maid-servant from the Tafilalt oasis in the Atlas Mountains of what is now contemporary Morocco. She built her empire there, becoming the Tuareg’s first Queen (Tamenokalt). The Tuareg are a Saharan Amazigh people who dwell in southern Algeria and Libya, as well as Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.
There was a storm before Prorok uncovered Tin Hinan’s tomb, but it passed quickly. The tomb featured a lot of rooms, but only one entrance, according to Prorok and his colleagues. It is thought to have been a Roman fort at one time.
Locals may have utilized the fort after the Roman assault into the Sahara in 19 B.C., according to historians, before it was eventually turned into a tomb.
“De Prorok and his team came upon the first room in the southwestern corner of the tomb,” according to Ancient Origins. There was a grave beneath nine irregular stone slabs in this room. De Prorok discovered a skeleton of a woman with her legs crossed and her head leaned slightly to one side when these were removed. The deceased was once buried on a wooden platform, with a red leather cloak that had long since crumbled into dust. The woman wore seven hefty silver bangles on her right arm and seven gold bracelets on her left.”
The woman was buried there between the third and fifth centuries, according to research. According to scholars, other jewelry found in the tomb, including turquoise and cornelian beads, may have come from Carthage in the north.
The woman buried there was powerful and high-class material, according to the treasure-filled tomb. Some believe, however, that there is no guarantee that the tomb is that of Tin Hinan, or that Tin Hinan actually lived.
Others speculate that a skeleton is a man. Despite this, the Tuareg continue to revere Tin Hinan, whom they regard as the “Mother of Us All.” They do so by participating in the Tin Hinan Festival. The celebration not only honors the queen, but also the Tuareg culture and the role of women in Algerian society.
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