In the southeast of Kabyle country live the Chaouia of the Aurès Mountains. The Chaouia resemble the Kabyles in many ways. Their communities are much like the Kabyle ones, and they too are governed by village-based sections or councils, called harfiqt, and both occupy impregnable valleys and mountains. While the Kabyles are peasants and more precisely gardeners, tending fruit trees (olives and figs), the Chaouia's economy, because of the scarcity of arable soil and the dictates of the variable rainfall, is based on a combination of intensive irrigated agriculture and livestock raising. Because of the verticality of the Aurès' geography, the Ouled `Abdi and Ouled Daoud take advantage of the wide range of possibilities offered by varying natural zones and different climatic levels. They cultivate cereals in the highlands and in the irrigated lowlands of the oases, practice horticulture, tend fruit trees, raise livestock that involves the transhumance of the animals, and maintain symbiotic commercial relations with the bordering Saharan communities. The name "Chaouia" means "shepherd."
   The harfiqt (clan) and `arch (tribe) are the most basic social units.
   The harfqit bears the name of the ancestor who is the object of an annual ceremony of worship. A distinguishing feature of the Chaouia way of life are the communal granaries (al-guel`a), fortified houses with many separate rooms for the different families to store the harvests. The harfiqt appointed a member of the community to look after the stores during the absences made necessary by the practice of seminomadism. In some cases, the granary could be entrusted to look after itself, being high up on an inaccessible cliff.
   The present-day Chaouia country is the ancient Numidia, the ancient domain of such Berber kings as Masinissa (238 B.C.-138 B.C.), Jugurtha (160 B.C.-104 B.C.), and Juba I (85 B.C.-46 B.C.) and Juba II (52 B.C.-A.D. 23). Chaouias and Kabyles speak such different dialects of the Tamazight language that they cannot readily understand each other. On the northern slopes lies Timgad, a Roman military colony built by Emperor Trajan in A.D. 100.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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