The name “Cave of Beasts” comes from the strange headless creatures, an example of which can be seen on the cover of the book to the left. It comprises an estimated 8000 images over an area of some 120 square metres on the northeastern edges of the vast Gilf Kebir plateau. The book is edited by the much-published and respected archaeologist Rudolph Kuper, one of the major contributors to the archaeology of the area.
Rising 300m above the desert floor, and covering an area the size of Switzerland, the Gilf Kebir is one of the most arid and inhospitable places in the Sahara. Located in the Egyptian desert, near the Libyan border a 100km north of Sudan, it shares a latitude with Abu Simbel. For over 100,000 years the Gilf Kebir was home to generations of hunters, followed by two thousand years of use by nomadic herders. It was only re-discovered in 1926, and since then it has been the subject of numerous expeditions for exploration, archaeological and geological investigation and, more recently, tourism. Very remote and arid it remained an almost pristine landscape until recent decades, perfect for field research. Even NASA researchers have studied the Gilf Kebir to evaluate conditions that might prevail on Mars.