A real inventory of cultural heritage in the Zat Valley was performed during the project.


The High Atlas is of major interest for the study of Moroccan rupestrian art. The rupestrian sites are particularly known for the engravings dating back to metal ages. Yet, in some sites, rupestrian art expression has continued for longer periods until medieval ages and later but remain largely unknown and unstudied today. Many sites in the high atlas and namely the Yagour plateau are the product of millenniums of graphic accumulations that associate engravings that date back to different and historically distant periods. The rupestrian sites of the High Atlas are all located on the best pasture highlands at 2000 metres height which managed as agdal (pastoral territories that are established as “no go” areas by local communities in spring). Paleo-climate data reveal a sudden drought after the humid episode of the Sahara. This dry period which took place in many phases starting from the third millennium before our era seem to coincide with the appearance of the engravings in the High Atlas. The Yagour plateau is located on the Toubkal massive at a height of 2500 meters and covers an area of 14x20 km.


The rupestrian heritage of the Yagour plateau should not be considered as endangered heritage as to now. There have been some destructives actions so far; namely the highly mediatised “Sun Disk of the yagour” which has caused strong feeling in Morocco, but it appeared that these had no religious motivation as it was initially suggested. On the other hand, some engravings, with clear sexual connotations, could be condemned in the present context. That is probably the reason behind the destruction of the anthropomorphic engravings of « l’enclos des fiancés » (fiancés enclosure), and which was recorded for the first time during the expedition of 2015 directed by M. Bailly and reported to the Moroccan authorities thanks to the presence in this expedition of A. Lemjidi, a member of the CNPR. This station was used for female offering rituals for the sake of marriage or fecundity, which is not in conformity with the orthodox islam in practice.

Aside from these problems, maintaining the traditional life mode and the ‘no go’ system as represented by the adgal are the best guarantee for the conservation of the sites’ integrity. The increasing interest of Moroccans for their archaeologica l heritage and the governmental policies for sensitisation and education of isolated rural local populations are very positive indicators for the future of the engravings site.

In addition, the conservation and preservation of the sites depend on a pyramid system, starting by the Ministry of Culture to the local relays and association networks which enables the flow of information and the transmission of conservation measures. The situation of tangible cultural heritage in Morocco is more favourable than in many other countries in the region.

Cette rubrique sera mise à jour après la publication du dernier rapport scientifique du programme Geopark-H2020. 

This section will be updated after the publication of the latest scientific report of the Geopark-H2020 programme.