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Camel caravan. Source: Gaper / Adobe Stock.

The Archaeologist, the Sahara and the Caravan (Video)

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In the vast expanse of the Sahara, a retired archaeology professor, Thierry Tillet, embarks on yet another expedition to trace the ancient routes of desert trade caravans. Unlike modern researchers who opt for four-wheel drive vehicles, Tillet adheres to tradition, traveling on camel-back with a team of skilled guides from the nomadic tribe called the Nemadi. Moving slowly on the ground allows Tillet to keenly observe and discover artifacts and ancient sites that a faster-paced journey would miss. Despite the challenges posed by political unrest in the region, he remains determined to adapt and continue his explorations.

Guided by the spirit of his mentor, Théodore Monod, a prominent figure in French Sahara exploration, Tillet is driven by a lifelong quest to locate an 11th Century caravan storage camp that was once lost to history. With great care and respect for the desert's treasures, Tillet gathers samples but avoids removing anything from the sites. His scientific curiosity extends to prehistoric tools, ancient graves, and even fossilized animal droppings. Self-funded since retirement, Tillet faces numerous obstacles in his pursuit, yet his passion for the Sahara fuels his unwavering commitment to future expeditions.

Top image: Camel caravan. Source: Gaper / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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