West Africa does not have monumental remains like those that can be found in Europe or elsewhere as among the Mayas. The Pyramids and Temples of Ancient Egypt, the ruins of great Zimbabwe can be compared with the only exception appearing in West Africa: The Megalithic Circles on the border between Senegal and Gambia.

The enigma still hangs over our countless trips with scholars to these sites. Who were really these first people who inhabited these sites, not far from the rivers of Senegambia? What are they hiding so sacred about our ancestral origins?

Stone Circles was inscribed in 2006 on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Four large groups of megalithic circles constitute an extraordinary grouping of more than 1000 monuments; Stretching over a 100 km wide strip that runs 350 km along the Gambia River. We will quote Sine Ngayène, Wanar from Senegal, and Wassu, Kerbatch in the Gambia bring together 93 circles and many tumuli, funeral mounds.

Some have been excavated and have revealed archaeological material that can be dated between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD. The carefully cut laterite stone circles and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape that has grown over more than 1,500 years and reflects a prosperous, enduring, and highly organized society. The stones forming the circles were extracted with the help of iron tools and expertly cut into almost identical columns, either cylindrical or polygonal in section, with an average height of 2 meters and weighing up to 7 tons.

Stone circles in Senegambia


Each circle contains between 8 and 14 standing stones with a diameter of 4 to 6 meters. All are located near burial mounds. This exceptional site is representative of a much larger regional megalithic zone which, in terms of size, similarity, and complexity, appears to be the largest known complex in the world.

Cheikh Anta Diop, a Senegalese scientist, and Egyptologist will tell us about the idea of a funeral site.

In a distant Senegal, the Tumuli were mounds of sand, or were buried certain characters of the company known; Pharaohs, Kings, and Chiefs were buried surrounded by their pets, food contained in pottery, with their jewelry, and sometimes even their possessions. These people had also discovered the secret of embalming bodies.

The most remarkable sight in the megalithic area is that of Sine Ngayène in the Kaolack region of Senegal, which has 52 circles for 1,200 megalithic stones and around a hundred tumuli.

Some sites include both types of monuments, stone circles, and burial mounds. The Tumuli are still located outside the megalithic circles.

During archaeological excavations, we found many bodies in the megalithic circles, most of them skeletons of course, but also terracotta pottery, weapons, and ornaments.

Cheikh Anta Diop would surely have cited the passage of the Serer, this ethnic group has built the Egyptian Pyramids and Temples.


Article by Abou Pouye, Travel Expert at Continent Tours