Tag Archives: stone circle

‘M’ is for the Mysterious Circle of Adrar Madet

Part of the occasional Sahara A to Z series
Hang around long enough and you’ll get the full set

Out in Niger’s Tenere desert, east of the Aïr mountains lies the isolated massif of Adrar Madet. About 2.5 kilometres directly west of the 20-km long massif’s northern tip, a perfect stone circle lies in the sand.
About 20m in diametre, some 600m from the circle and more or less at each cardinal point is a small arrow. You can see all five points here on Bing. You won’t see it on Google.

I’ve not been there but have known of it for years. Some like to speculate that it’s a pre-historic marker associated with prime meridians and ancient knowledge, marking the ‘middle of North Africa’ (right).
I tend more to the belief that it’s a less ancient aviation landmark from the colonial era, one of many located in the Sahara. Fellow Saharaholic, Yves Rohmer confirms this fact. Not so mysterious after all but you do wonder, with the distinctive 20-km-long massif angled NW/SE and the AUir to the west, what value the tiny circle actually added to navigation.