It’s just amazing how people discover something new about the past every single day. Just recently, life-sized camel sculptures dating back 2,000 years have been found at an inhospitable site in the Saudi desert. Although the discovery is not the first of its kind, it is described as ‘unprecedented’ on its scale.
Located in the province of Al Jawf in north-west Saudi Arabia, what has since become known as the Camel Site was explored by a Franco-Saudi research team.
Researchers identified a dozen of sculptures carved into three rocky spurs, not all of which are complete. It is still not known why the artists carved them in this remote area.
Scientists suggest the area may have once been a place of worship, or that the camels were used as boundary markers.
The study was conducted by researchers based at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France.
Colleagues from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also participated. All of them explored the Camel Site in 2016 and 2017.
Archaeologist Guillaume Charloux, a research engineer at CNRS in France, said for the media: “Though natural erosion has partly destroyed some of the works, as well as any traces of tools, we were able to identify a dozen or so reliefs of varying depths representing camelids and equids.”
Charloux goes on:
“The life-sized sculpted animals are depicted without harnessing in a natural setting. One scene, in particular, is unprecedented: it features a dromedary meeting a donkey, an animal rarely represented in rock art. Some of the works are thus thematically very distinct from the representations often found in this region.”
Archaeologists say the ‘unprecedented’ camel relief find brings new information about the evolution of rock art in the Arabian Peninsula.
“Technically, they also differ from those discovered at other Saudi sites – frequently simple engravings of dromedaries without relief – or the sculpted facades of Al Ḩijr. In addition, certain Camel Site sculptures on upper rock faces demonstrate indisputable technical skills. Camel Site can now be considered a major showcase of Saudi rock art in a region especially propitious for archaeological discovery.”
According to the study, Arabian rock art consisted of engraving and painting.
Sunken reliefs and sculptures in high-and-low relief were reserved for architectural decoration.
Therefore, Arabian rock art from the Neolithic period (10,000 BC) to modern times tends to be linear and two-dimensional.
The most common themes include war, hunting, processions of animals (dromedaries, ibex, wild goats, cattle), enigmatic symbols and geometric, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures engraved among graffiti and monumental rock-cut inscriptions.
The researchers said that findings lead them to believe the sculptures were completed in the first centuries BC or AD.
Source: Bradshaw foundation
Here‘s is more on another incredible discovery in China.