Sacking Beni Hammad

The questions raised by the ruins of Beni Hammad provide some insights into the evolution and alignment of the African landmass in the early centuries of the 2nd millennium CE.

The Hodna Mountains are a mountain massif in northeastern Algeria.

The Beni Hammad Fort or Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad is the ruin of a fortified Muslim city belonging to the Hammadid dynasty that was built and settled in 1007 and abandoned in 1090.

It is located on the southern slopes of the range and includes a 7 km-long line of walls. Inside the walls are four residential complexes, and the largest mosque built in Algeria after that of Mansourah, similar to the Grand Mosque of Kairouan, with a tall minaret (20 m). The remains of the emir’s palace, known as Dal al-Bahr, include three separate residences separated by gardens and pavilions.

Wikipedia – Hodna Mountains

Question #1

Why did the Hammadid Berbers build their first capital on the edge of the remote Chott El Hodna basin where the main human activities are “pastoralism and salt production”?

The fortress was built in 1007 by Hammad ibn Buluggin, the son of Buluggin ibn Ziri, the founder of Algiers. The city became the capital of the Hammadid Berbers, and sustained a siege from the Zirid in 1017.

Wikipedia – Beni Hammad Fort

The Hammadid dynasty was a Sanhaja Berber dynasty that ruled an area roughly corresponding to north-eastern modern Algeria between 1008 and 1152.

Wikipedia – Hammadid dynasty

Chott El Hodna is part of a series of chotts (salt lakes) fed by water from the Tell Atlas range to the north and the Saharan Atlas to the south.

The main human activities are pastoralism and salt production.

Ramsar Sites Information Service – Chott El Hodna

The Chott el Hodna is a very shallow saline lake in Algeria.
It is located within an endorheic basin in the Hodna region, towards the eastern end of the Hautes Plaines. The Chott el Hodna includes seasonal brackish and saline pools and marshes, but the central zone of the lake is characterized by a complete absence of vegetation.

Wikipedia – Chott el Hodna

Question #2

Why did the Hammadid Berbers decide to build their first capital between 950 and 1400 metres above sea level on the spectacularly folded slopes of the mainly treeless Hodna Mountains?

Beni Hammad Fort, also called Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad is a fortified palatine city in Algeria.

The Dar al-Bahr palace was named for its rectangular pool, which measured 67 by 47 metres (220 by 154 ft). A ramp at one end of the pool was used to launch boats. References to nautical displays in this pool appear in the accounts of contemporary visitors. The pool was surrounded by a portico, and accessed through a monumental entrance on the east side. West of the pool was an elevated terrace and courtyard with gardens. Outside the walls of the palace complex, gardens extended east-to-west across the city, and to a depth of nearly 100 metres (330 ft). The gardens have not yet been explored by archeologists, although ornamental fountains have been discovered.

Wikipedia – Beni Hammad Fort

Bathrooms with hypocaust were located at the northern end of the central building. The hypocaust is intact; the underground pillars, pipes, channels and paving of the rooms were made of brick.

Translated with
Kalaa des Beni-Hammad – Léon de Beylié – 1909

Question #3

Why did the Hammadid Berbers build a South aligned mosque in Beni Hammad?

The orientation of buildings in the ancient civilisations has been referred to the movements of several celestial bodies above the horizon on characteristics dates (two solstices and equinoxes).

However, Muslims have used a sacred direction (qibla) towards Kaaba located in the courtyard in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to pray and to perform various ritual acts in their daily lives since the early days of Islam.

Thus, the mosques had then to orientate towards the qibla direction, being indicated by a niche in the focal point of the qibla-wall wherever they were building on the Earth.

Historical mosque orientation in Turkey: Central-Western Anatolia Region, 1150–1590
Yilmaz, Mustafa – 2012 – Journal of Historical Geography – 38 – 359–371

Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad (UNESCO/NHK)
UNESCO 26 Mar 2013

The short answer to all three questions is:

They didn’t.

The sacking of the Beni Hammad “area” by “Arabs” [with a “somewhat infamous reputation”] is just another euphemism for a natural catastrophe.

The Hammadid dynasty’s first capital was at Qalaat Beni Hammad. It was founded in 1007, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the area was sacked by the Banu Hilal tribe, the Hammadids moved their capital to Béjaïa in 1090.

Wikipedia – Hammadid dynasty

Beni Hammad Fort … was built in 1007 by Hammad ibn Buluggin, the son of Buluggin ibn Ziri, the founder of Algiers. The city became the capital of the Hammadid Berbers, and sustained a siege from the Zirid in 1017. In 1090 it was abandoned under the menace of the Banu Hilal, and was partly destroyed by the Almohads in 1152.

Wikipedia – Beni Hammad Fort

The Banu Hilal was a confederation of tribes of Arabia from the Hejaz and Najd regions of the Arabian Peninsula that emigrated to North Africa in the 11th century.

Masters of the vast plateaux of Najd, they enjoyed a somewhat infamous reputation, possibly owing to their relatively late (for the Arabian tribes) conversion to Islam and accounts of their campaigns in the borderlands between Iraq and Syria.

From the Arabian Peninsula, they first migrated to the south of Egypt before heading to the central North Africa. Abu Zayd al-Hilali led between 150,000 and 300,000 Arabs into central North Africa, who assimilated and intermarried with the indigenous peoples.

Wikipedia – Banu Hilal

The location of Béjaïa [the second capital of the Hammadid Berbers] suggests Beni Hammad was originally built as a palatine sea port [like Malaga aka Malaka].

Béjaïa, formerly Bougie and Bugia, is a Mediterranean port city on the Gulf of Béjaïa in Algeria; it is the capital of Béjaïa Province, Kabylia.

After the 7th-century Muslim conquest, it was refounded as “Béjaïa”; the Hammadid dynasty made it their capital, and it became an important port and centre of culture.

The son of a Pisan merchant (and probably consul), posthumously known as Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250), there learned about mathematics (which he called “Modus Indorum”) and Hindu-Arabic numerals. He introduced modern mathematics into medieval Europe. A mathematical-historical analysis of Fibonacci’s context and proximity to Béjaïa, an important exporter of wax in his time, has suggested that it was actually the bee-keepers of Béjaïa and the knowledge of the bee ancestries that truly inspired the Fibonacci sequence rather than the rabbit reproduction model as presented in his famous book Liber Abaci.

According to Muhammad al-Idrisi, the port was, in the 11th century, a market place between Mediterranean merchant ships and caravans coming from the Sahara desert. Christian merchants settled fundunqs (or Khans) in Bejaïa. The Italian city of Pisa was closely tied to Béjaïa, where it built one of its two permanent consulates in the African continent.

Wikipedia – Béjaïa

The folded Hodna Mountains and the associated series of saline lakes very clearly indicate the natural catastrophe that destroyed Beni Hammad involved uplifting and distorting the land and seabed around the Hodna Lineament and South Atlas Fault.

Malaga Bay – African Lineaments

Chott Melrhir also known as Chott Melghir or Chott Melhir is an endorheic salt lake in northeastern Algeria.

It [is] the westernmost part of a series of depressions, which extend from the Gulf of Gabès into the Sahara.

They were created between [the] Miocene and Early Pleistocene as a result of compression accompanying the formation of the Atlas Mountains.

With the maximum area of about 6,700 km2 (2,600 sq mi), Chott Melrhir is the largest lake in Algeria. It lies almost entirely below the sea level and contains the lowest point in Algeria, −40 meters (−130 feet).

Wikipedia – Chott Melrhir

Chott el Djerid also spelled Sciott Gerid and Shott el Jerid, is a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia. … The bottom of Chott el Djerid is located between 10 and 25 meters below sea level. … Due to the harsh climate with mean annual rainfall of below 100 mm and daytime temperatures sometimes reaching 50 °C (122 °F) or more during summer with dense solar radiation, water evaporates from the lake.

Wikipedia – Chott el Djerid

Chott Ech Chergui is a large endorheic salt lake in Saïda Province, northwestern Algeria.

It is located at 34.35°N 0.5°E in the level terrain of the Hautes Plaines region between the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas and is one of the largest lakes in Algeria.

Wikipedia – Chott Ech Chergui

The Geological Events associated with the Muslim Conquest of Iberia appear to have occurred during the Messinian stage of the Miocene that is said to have occurred between 7.25 and 5.33 million years ago.

Malaga Bay – The Miocene Mysteries

The number of clearly identifiable levels found in lignite mines and polar ice cores suggest it’s more likely the lignite mine deposits started to form at the Arabian Horizon [637 CE].

Malaga Bay – Geological Rot

And if the 48° clockwise rotation of North Africa [aka The Senegal Swing] is reversed then the Beni Hammad mosque would be very much closer to it’s correct alignment.

Malaga Bay – The Senegal Swing

The catastrophe that ruined Beni Hammad provides the key to solving the Roman mystery of the Fossatum Africae

The dispersal of brick makers from Beni Hammad in 1090 suggests they could have arrived in Milan and Rome just before the start of the 12th century.

Beni Hammadbuilt in 10071090 it was abandoned

Wikipedia – Beni Hammad Fort

Norman brick makers arrived in Milan [from the East] in the 12th or 13th century.
Norman brick makers arrived in Rome [from the East] in the 12th or 13th century.

Malaga Bay – The British Brick

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3 Responses to Sacking Beni Hammad

  1. johnm33 says:

    One of the ‘triads of the britons’ has the rivers flowing in from the sea, a long slow flood that drowned the land. There’s no date attatched but it’s a ‘Welsh’ record so after the Celts arrived/returned. When looking at north Africa with a flood in mind it’s possible to see signs of the flow extending from the west all the way to the Nile valley, that some of it should flow north and leave behind salt among the flood loess in the hollows seems natural. It would also explain why so many monuments in Egypt still exude salt, does this also suggest that the Roman claim to have salted the Carthaginians-Vandals croplands is false? Did the Arabs ‘conquer’ civilisations in ruin when occupying north africa? were they previously contained on their plateau by surrounding ‘states’ all devastated by the flooding event? And less rhetorical did their expansion challenge the Sassanids and did that aristocracy seek refuge among their norse trading partners via the Caspian? taking their brickwork/architecture and armourment skills with them.
    Thinking about Earth expansion i decided to look at for a -ive fractional ‘particle’ that would interact with ionised iron, to generate both hydrogen ions[which would ‘hide’ in the crystal lattice adding no volume] and isotopes heavier than iron [which would tend to reduce the required volume] in this way whilst solid a negative pressure zone would exist inside a fraught electron shell, somewhat like the EZ layer of water/ice. This way the outer part of a once homogenous core would slowly transform until some outside force, electric or kinetic, melted/liquified the mix, which would immediately heat it’s mineral containment, this already suffused with eons worth of escaping hydrogen, which then reacts and once ‘frozen’ solid rock is emulsified as it’s oxygen is harvested by that hydrogen, and the heavy metal ores break out, self segregate, and rise driven by vortical and centrifugal forces
    There’s a model of internal turbulence here if the vortices reached the surface then one would expect their peripheries to have been more fluid and maybe also to contain ore deposits, whilst the centers perhaps contain more water/methane at depth?

  2. Boris Tabaksplatt says:

    I wonder if the catastrophe was large enough to cause a permanent change to the axial tilt of the earth? I posit that the movement of land masses could have been caused by a high level sea breaking it’s containment – (Pacific?). This would have caused a tsunami many hundreds of meters high, sweeping all before it,. So causing the end of civilisations and a permanent climate change.

  3. Pingback: The African Ditch | MalagaBay

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