The Ennedi is a unique ecological
niche in the remote north-eastern part of the Republic of Chad. This labyrinth-like
mountainous region, accessible only with difficulty, is located between 16°
and 18° N near the Sudanese border. It surpasses the size of Switzerland
and peaks at about 1450 m a.s.l. For the reason that the Ennedi was not affected
by the same extent of desiccation as other parts of the Sahara, plants and animals
have succeeded to survive in the middle of the desert for millennia. As a consequence,
people have been occupying the area until today.
Other important landscapes around the Ennedi include the Mourdi basin, the Erdi plateaux and the fresh- and saltwater lakes of Ounianga, which are unparalleled in the entire Sahara. To date, no major research has been carried out in these regions in spite of their enormous potential for various scientific fields. Studies in climate-geography, cultural history and archaeology are particularly promising to produce exhaustive new knowledge.
Geoscientific fieldwork focuses on the analysis of palaeoclimatologically sensitive deposits in the Ennedi (playas, speleothems, archaeological sites) and of sediment cores from the Ounianga lakes to retrieve high-resolution data - if possible at annual or even seasonal scale - on the climatic and environmental evolution in the southeastern Sahara since the onset of its ultimate desiccation about 3000 years ago. Comparable climate archives for this time-slice do not occur in the neighbouring research areas of subprojects A1 (Egypt) and A2 (Sudan).
Among the rich archaeological sources, rock art attains a salient position due to its abundance, its good preservation and its chronological continuity. Interdisciplinary research into the landscape and its cultural remains aims at a model providing a comprehensive understanding of life and the necessities of adaptation to deteriorating environmental conditions during the last millennia.
All research is based on close co-operation with local institutions and scholars. In the long run, it shall lead to a general description of the environmental, climatic and cultural history of north-eastern Chad.
Above that, and in agreement with official institutions and the local population, efforts are being made to achieve a protective status for the region's outstanding natural and cultural heritage in order to prevent damage by off-road tourism or industrial use that have ravaged other Saharan regions.
[Project A1] [Project
A2] [Project A3] [Project
A5] [Project A6] [Project A7] [Project