My thanks to Adele in Australia for this fascinating email.
I just read your article on navigating the Sahara with Tuareg tribesmen – fascinating, especially the Venus part!
My question is, did you come across their Tuareg compass jewellery necklace? Did they ever use that to reference stars to aid their direction?
Years ago in 2011, I met a man in Morocco who used his necklace to find his way back home to the Sahara. I was so intrigued… my memory is a bit faded but he said he lines up the hole with the northern star, and another star… and the point in the middle points North? . I’d love to know more about it.
I can’t find any information whatsoever online !
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
I’ll also be navigating my way across your website as my 2019 goal is the learn how to read the skies 🙂
Cheers from Australia, Adele
Thanks for getting in touch.
Fascinating and no, I’ve never come across this exact concept before. It is possible that jewellery could be used to find direction, eg. North, but it is easy enough to do it without tools (the North star is easy to find and is due north – see this page if you’d like to know how). It may be a cultural variation of an instrument called a kamal.
There may be other aspects though. If you don’t mind, I might put it up on my blog and see if I get any responses?
Thanks and all the best, Tristan
After my first email, I had a concern and sent a second one:
I have to ask (it is not in my nature to be cynical, but many on the web are so we can head off that cynicism if I know beforehand) – did you buy this necklace? Was there a potential motive for a romanticisation of this necklace?
Adele explained that she did go on to commission and buy a necklace, but not off the man who explained this concept to her. When I suggested that some might be tempted to believe that the necklace story had another motive, Adele was adamant that this was not the case:
“Oh not at all… I was asking him a million questions about life and survival in the Sahara… from food to community, transport and navigation… which eventually lead to the necklace 🙂 “
What do you think – beautiful navigation aid or sly sales pitch?
Have you come across something similar in Africa or elsewhere? Can you shed any more light on this? If so please get in touch via link above.
My thanks again to Adele or getting in touch.