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In the Bizmoune cave near Essaouira, interpretations of a journey through time

Lhe Essaouira-Mogador association and the Unesco office for the Maghreb organized a seminar last week on the driving role of heritage and history in the development strategy of the tourist city.

Present at this event, the royal advisor and founding president of the association, André Azoulay, believes that the recent discoveries of ornaments dating back 150,000 years in the Bizmoune cave, mark “The centrality of Morocco and the place of Essaouira in the coming rereading of the deepest and oldest history of humanity”.

Bizmoune is a huge pool of resources on which it is important to capitalize, according to André Azoulay

The native of the city, who has already made the trip to the caves of Bizmoune, was “Subjugated” by this discovery in a region where the human presence is counted more than a million years before our era. A huge pool of resources on which it is important to capitalize, according to André Azoulay.

In the field, the whole policy initiated by the National Institute of Archaeological and Heritage Sciences (INSAP) is beginning to reap its fruits. “In 21 years in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) zone, the Israelis are the only ones to whom we are comparable in terms of prehistoric research”, explains Professor Abdeljalil Abouzouggar, who led the excavations in Bizmoune.

Make the stone speak

“I saw how the Institute, which evolved under the leadership of Professor Joudia Benslimane, quickly understood that Morocco needed to sign conventions and send its researchers abroad in order to accumulate experience”, tells us the archaeologist.

Published at the end of November 2021 after more than ten years of excavations, the report on the discoveries of Bizmoune is particularly devoted to the objects of adornment found in the basement of the cave. Exhibiting codes on the body, belonging to a territory, exploiting it and controlling it… the cave in question holds other mysteries from prehistoric times. At the same time, it raises technical limits that can be overcome thanks to the human genius of the 21e century.

“There should be no shame in saying that 150,000 years ago, the location of Morocco was the center of the world”

Abdeljalil Abouzouggar

“Some scientists think of using artificial intelligence to identify the form of language used 150,000 years ago”, reveals Professor Bouzouggar. Unfortunately, speech does not fossilize, it can only be read in material traces. Prehistory therefore remains an unwritten history.

L’Homme de Bizmoune has resolutely changed his relationship with nature. “When humans acquired the symbols, they haven’t let go until now”, certifies Prof. Bouzouggar, for whom “There should be no shame in saying that 150,000 years ago the location of Morocco was the center of the world”.


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