...I don't ask how you always find these mysterious places...
If you'd ask then my answer would be something like:
"It's not enough staring at GoogleEarth 24hrs/day, also in every moment of your search you have to feel the need to find-, in every millisecond you have to be ready to spot something - or something else!" - just check my avatar...! (; ...
Update 2020.04.14.: 3 more "symbol" sites from the same geological unit attached to OP!
To follow screenshot-listing of the "symbol" sites:
I see, what you mean siggi; these are from areas with similar characteristics as well ...still I am not closer to the solution. - No map references, no search results, no image-search results so far... (even my "P" concept seems to fail)
Hi BP, thanks for thoughts! - Nice one with the book-analogy!(:
Well, at this stage of research, trying to summarize what we know about these (8 sites at the moment):
-these are roughly 6X12 meters stone structures with circa 1-1,5 meters wide clean bands and half-circle attachments on one of the short sides,
-each one is oriented to two directions - 2 are aligned to NW and 6 to NE regardless to local surface profiles,
-6 are placed on high-banks or drainage basins, but one is on a local hilltop and another one can be found on a plateau,
-each one is situated on "easy-to-spot" places, close to Wadis (I have edited kmz and have changed placemark view settings to a 3D view for each site.)
-these are seem to me as old, but not that ancient stone structures.
In my cross-post to F&G willi1 has mentioned his concept of temporary corrals and a probable better grass yield within the frames, but still I think that these are not functional structures, rather navigational, geological, religious or other sort of signs or symbols. Simply beacuse I think these are too small to be functional, also there are no traces of human (or wildlife) activity around them.
No wells, no oases, no huts or other buildings, no roads or paths nowhere... only these lonely symbols made of dark, volcanic rocks...
Syzygy, my hunch, too, is that they have some religious purpose and like you, I see them as old, rather than ancient or pre-historical. Since I have almost no knowledge of Muslim symbolism, this is where my hunch ends. A very small clue shows that the local people use whitewash to paint the upper parts of some buildings. That is far from anything I would call evidence of anything, though. See my file below.
Where is Ken Grok when we need him! His many placemarks in the same area are dated 2009 and the white symbols must not have been visible in that imagery, or he would have seen them. There has been a lot of human activity in the region, as shown by photos of 4WD vehicles, among other things. How odd that no one has photographed these strange items...but, they haven't photographed the stone crescents, either.
They seem to be placed randomly, but maybe there was some "system." This is exactly the kind of thing that used to drive several of us crazy for months in the oGEC! I'm going to try some searches. Why not, I'm cooped up all by myself these days.
...Where is Ken Grok when we need him! His many placemarks in the same area are dated 2009 and the white symbols must not have been visible in that imagery, or he would have seen them. ...;
I have forgotten to respond, that Ken Grok yet was been around so there was hi-res imagery also that time at some of the symbol locations, only these are looking dots of natural abrasion from an eye-altitude, where his stone monuments are still clearly visible.
(check symbol IX. and nearby crescent monuments on GMaps at different zoom levels for example.)
My first spotting was due to a lucky "over-zoom" with the mouse-wheel.
Something at last! - Unsatisfactory explanation, but photo of "symbol IX." and some guessing about function in a Sahara Overland Travelogue on Immidir plateau, Algeria I have just found:
Most days we came across a desert mosque or some sort, although I’ve never seen the ‘pewed’ examples we found in the Immidir. The inset shows a similar structure viewed from Google Earth at Aguelman Rahla guelta, 13kms directly north of the crater at the mouth of Oued Tafrakrek (see Google image below). Google Earth shows the permanent guelta surrounded by pre-islamic tombs (including the less common keyhole type) which suggests like many Sahara oueds, the place has long been inhabited. ...
Well, guy sniffs places of worship, but admits that these were unknown for him before, so still we must not reject our other concepts of origin and function. Travelogue also confirms my suspicion about geographical distribution of these - they have found such only around here, on the Immidir Plateau aka the ‘Monts du Mouydir’.
The whole region is full of "gueltas for which the Immidir is best known" - now we know it too.
"In remote regions of the Sahara desert in extreme south of Algeria, they don't have mosques, instead they have a "tamesguada", a formation of rocks that resemble a mosque, with an opening for the door and a curved section for the qebla. " - as can be read as comment of the editor. ("quebla" = Qibla; "The qibla is the direction of the building Ka'bah in the Sacred Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.")
Same structure, "desert mosque" labelled GE photo I also just have spotted at >>25.7436801,10.5728756<<, Libya(!)
So, directions of the mentioned parts of the structures are tend to point to Mecca (check kmz line feature), however explanation for the side-structures and inner-grid of the ones around Immidir Plateau still is missing...!
*** Thread title edited, updated kmz file attached to original post.
Few months ago I have got in contact with Mr. Yves Gauthier, french Sahara archaeologist, who wrote me this great story and full explanation in a recent e-mail reply:
...All these mosques, made with the same layout, were made during the last 40-50 years by Emedi, a guy living alone and with almost no contact with other people in Immidir. He died ~in 2005.
Function of the side structure : a group of 3 alphabetic characters (. II) in the SW corner. Following one of my tuareg guides, this might say " Allah" but some people disagree with that. Others say this corresponds to a signature and/or to the personal mark used to identify his camels.
Inside structure : it simply corresponds to the lines (marked or not) along which people stand for praying as is common in nowadays mosques. Between the lines, the soils has been cleaned up by removing the gravel layer.
You may see: Bernezat Jean-Louis, 2009, Emedi, asabat moderne de l’Immidir, Les Cahiers de l'AARS, 13, p31-36. ..,
Mistery solved, thread title edited. - That was all folks!