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  • Writer's pictureKatie


Humankind has always been obsessed with building the largest, tallest, longest, or most expensive monuments, and now we're obsessed with visiting these modern and historical monuments. You may be familiar with the ancient Egyptian pyramids and the Stonehenge in England, but you may not have heard about the Senegambian stone circles.

Created more than 1500 years ago, located in central Senegal and the north Gambia, the stone circles of Senegambia represent an extraordinary concentration of more than 1000 stone circles. Between the River Gambia and the River Senegal, there are four sites of megalithic circles. These sites are Wanar and Sine Ngayene in Senegal and Kerbatch and Wassu in the Gambia.

What are the stone circles of Senegambia?

Groups of stone circles spread over an approximate area of 30,000 square kilometers (11,583 square miles) make up the Senegambian stone circles. There are 29,000 stones in total, and on average, each of these megalith circles is made up of stones that are 2 meters in height when upright and can weigh up to 7 tons each. These circles consist of upright stones and pillars made of laterite, many of which have fallen over with time and now lie flat on the ground. These stone circles aren't as big as the Stonehenge in England but what's impressive about them is that there are over 1000 of these stone circles, out of which 93 have been inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List.

These stone circles' function is still a mystery to us, and they're believed to have been built out of a tradition that has lasted millennia. Many burial sites were unearthed in some archaeological excavations, suggesting that these stone circles may have a funerary function.

These are the four sites that are split amongst Senegal and Gambia:

The Sine Ngayene and The Wanar site:

It is located in the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal. The Wanar site comprises 21 stones and has several lyre-stones, and even boasts a double circle. The Sine Ngayene site is the largest out of the four sites and contains 52 stone circles and 1102 carved stones. The Sine Ngayene site also has its own double circle in its central section. It is regarded as the most essential Senegal site.

The Wassu and Kerbatch site:

Located in Gambia, the Wassu is made up of 11 stone circles and contains the tallest stone of all the sites, coming in at the height of 2.59 meters. The Kerbatch site has nine stones and has a double circle of its own.

Senegambia also has 17,000 monuments in 2,000 other individual sites. There's plenty of reasons to visit Africa, but here's another one. Have you been to Senegal or Gambia?

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