Combined Prehistoric Expedition to Egypt

Archaeologist Fred Wendorf poses with a shaped stone (shown here) that formed part of an unusual kind of installation at Nabta Playa. About 6,000 years ago, Nabta Playans found a number of large rocks (such as the one in the next photo) 10 feet beneath the desert surface. They would uncover one of these rocks, clear the area around it, and level off its surface to form a pedestal. On the pedestal, they erected a large, carved stone statue, which weighed as much as 10,000 pounds. Then they filled in the entire pit, covering the pedestal and statue.

Why did the ancients put in all this effort? No one really knows, but Wendorf suggests that the statue represents a cow and that the Nabta Playans practiced a form of cattle worship.