The Proto-Saharan Civilization


Clyde Winters

In ancient times a wonderful civilization existed in the Highland regions of Middle Africa. In this wonderful civilization 6000 years ago lived the ancestors of the Dravidians, Black Africans, Elamites and the Sumerians. Today we call this Proto-Saharan civilization the "Fertile African Crescent", because the highland regions in which the Proto-Saharans l lived formed a crescent shape across the Saharan region of middle Africa.

Pastoralism and fishing preceded food production in the ancient Sahara. It appears that a hunter-fisher-gatherer group which clearly specialized in the hunting of animals (as evidenced by the arrowheads) became animal herders, since they were keenly aware of the habits of game and therefore made the shift from hunter-fisher-gatherer to animal husbandry rapidly once climatic conditions in the Sahara made it impossible to collect grains.

Moderate climatic conditions made it possible for the Proto-Saharans to engage in intensive plant domestication. Food surpluses led to the rise of towns and cities, complex political organization. social ranking of individuals in society, and craft specialization as certain clans and ethnic groups became more sedentary.

The linguistic evidence indicates that the Proto-Saharans practiced a form of intensive agriculture characterized by the use of the hoe, related water storage and irrigation techniques plus the application of fertilizers to the cultivated land.

The ability to produce surplus food led to an increase in population, changes in social organization and class distinctions. Naturally, population increases forced the ancestors of the Proto-Saharans to spill over into more marginal areas. This population pressure probably forced many Proto-Saharan clans to domesticate plants and animals to preserve traditional levels of food production.

The ancestors of the Dravidians, Manding and Sumerians were organized into a federal system during the neolithic subpluvial. These early Proto- Saharans made adequate uses of local game and plant life and they established permanent and seasonal settlements around well stocked fishing holes. They lived on plains, punctuated by mountains and numerous points of inundation due to the frequency of rain in the ancient Sahara.

The early ability to find permanent sources of food and shelter during the neolithic by the Proto-Dravidians, and other Proto-Saharans led to increased domestic functioning of the woman, since hunting wild game and the constant need of the Proto-Saharans to provide food and the search for herds of game, as a source of food was no longer that important. The stability of the hearth maintained by the women led to the development of a matriarchal system. In addition to a matrillineal pattern of inheritance among these people, women had equal rights to the men.

Women created agriculture. Thus, the term"Ma",appears in the languages spoken by the descendants of the Proto-Saharans to denote both "mother" and "earth area".

The Proto-Saharans claimed descent from the Maa or Fish Confederation. The Maa Confederation includes the Egyptians, Elamites, Dravidians, Manding and Sumerians. In honor of the great ancestor: Maa, they worshipped a god called: Amun, Amon, or Amma. In honor of this great ancestor the descendants of the Proto-Saharans use the term Ma, to denote greatness or highness, e.g., Manding " Maga" and Dravidian Ma. Other Proto-Saharan tribes claimed direct descent from the great Maa, founder of the Fish Confederation. For example, the Manding call themselves Ma-nde: children of Ma, while the Sumerians were called Ma-Gar-ri (exalted God's children).

The Proto-Saharans share place names. Evidence for shared place names has been discovered by Dr. Vamos-Toth Bator. Dr. Vamos-Toth Bator, calls this ancient civilization ---root culture-- Tamana. The term Tamana can be interpreted in the Manding and Dravidian language as "Strongplace","Stronghold" or "Original Settlement". The term Tamana is one of over 1,000,000 place names Dr. Vamos-Toth has found which link Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The term Tamana, was a popular place name for the Proto-Saharans, as they expanded out of the nuclear Proto-Saharan region, to signify a colonial city or trade center established among hostile alien tribes.

The Proto-Saharans also had their own writing system. This writing system was used by the Dravidians in the Indus Valley, the Manding in the Western Sahara, and the Egyptians.

The ancient Proto-Saharan script was a logo syllabic system. The words used to write this script were monosyllabic.

This writing was engraved on rocks, a stylus was used to engrave wet clay. This view is supported by the fact that the term for writing in Dravidian and Egyptian has supported by the fact that the term for writing in /l/, /r/ or /d/. For a U attached to initial consonants usually /l/, /r/ or /d/. For example, writing in Sumerian was Ru and Shu, Elamite: Talu, Dravidian: Carru and Egyptian: Mdu. These terms agree with the Manding terms for excavate or hollow out: du, do, kulu, tura, etc. This shows that the Proto-Saharan term for writing denoted the creation of impressions on wet clay or hard rock. The Sumerians term for carving was du.

A comparative study of the Proto-Saharan languages (PS), gives us a very clear indication of their cultural traits, at the time of separation. Suzanne Romaine, makes a good case for the separability of the linguistic area of research and that of socio-cultural research and the synchronic with the diachronic historical areas. This use of linguistic data to highlight the cultural history of related groups of speakers, was also supported by Labov , who suggested that people having similar scoio-cultural traits, would also be linguistically similar. As will soon be illustrated in this book, this theory is supported by the analogy between the Dravidian, Manding and Sumerian languages.

It is interesting to note that although the Dravidians, Manding and Sumerians live in varying topography and climate, and in self supporting semi-isolated regions they used the same terms to denote the earliest elements of civilization. Terms which show little phonological divergence. Moreover, these terms are mutually intelligible. This shows that the speakers of these languages came from a common ancestral language: Bafsudraalam.

The early contact between the Dravidians, Manding and Sumerians in the Proto-Sahara led to great resemblances in the area of the cultural lexicon. This is particularly evident in the affinity between culture terms referring to the Proto- civilization of the speakers of these languages. The sedentary lifestyle of the Proto-Saharans emphasize the role of culture as a determinant of linguistic structure and vocabulary.

An examination of the Proto-Saharan languages illustrates that the speakers of these languages lived in cities PS *uru, and had chiefs PS *sar. In addition to living in cities the Proto-Saharans had built extensive roads called PS *sila.

The PS term for people or humanity was PS *oku. The mother of the family was called PS *amma or *ma. and the father was called PS *pa. The children both boys and girls were usually referred to as PS *de/di/du. They lived in houses called PS *-u/*lu.

The Proto-Saharans used the suffix PS *-ta to indicate a place of habitation. Cultivation was called PS *ga(n); cultivatable barren land near water was referred to as PS *de/i(n).

The Proto-Saharans were great sailors. They used celestial navigation to make long voyages. The Proto-Saharans also used boats called PS *kalam.

Hunting was an important aspect of Proto-Saharan life. As a result the bow and arrow was a popular weapon, e.g., arrow PS *kaka.

Many of the long distance voyages made by the Proto-Saharans were made in search of precious metals. The Proto-Dravidians dominated trade in lapis lazuli for hundreds of years. As a result they were familiar with mining. They therefore share the term for digging: Dravidian tulai, Manding du, tyolo, and Sumerian dul, tul,: PS*tul.

These people probably knew about blacksmithy e.g., Tamil: irumbu,Telugu : inamu, Manding: numu, umu "forge". These Proto-Saharans were familiar with many metals including copper: Dravidian uruttiran, Sumerian urdu, and Manding: kura, kuta: PS *urut; gold: Dravidian: kaani, Kaanam, Sumerian: Gush-kin, and Manding: saani, PS *aani; and Steel, Dravidian: alavu, urukku, Elamite: ufat and Manding tuufa PS *ufa.

Above we have discussed many of the cultural first which the Proto-Saharans created in ancient Africa. The linguistic evidence clearly indicates that the Dravidians, Elamites, Black Africans and Sumerians formerly lived in the Highland regions of the Sahara until after the Sahara began to dry up. As the highland regions of the Sahara became a desert the Proto-Saharans spread from middle Africa to America, Europe, Asia and throughout Africa.

Winter's Homepage

  • Ekwesi's Afrocentric Homepage
  • Mkubwa's Afrocentric Homepage

    Send Comments to: