Life-size Camel Carvings Found in Saudi Arabia

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February 13, 2018

Archaeologists have discovered a significant number of 2,000-year-old life-sized stone sculptures of camels in Saudi Arabia.

Camel carvings in Saudi Arabia

A group of French and Saudi scientists have been excavating in the Al Jawf province, in the northwest part of the country near Jordan. They have named the place the Camel Site. It is a privately owned property that has been the site of modern construction works; the stone carvings, about 12 in all, show damage that could be associated what that construction or could be simply the result of erosion.

The presence of modern activity could go some way toward explaining why the researchers found such large stone carvings but no evidence of the tools used to make those carvings or even any signs of previous habitation. The team has speculated that the carvings could have been done at a rest stop along a trade route or at a site of religious importance.

Such stone carvings are rare in the Arabian peninsula; the ones that have been found scenes of hunting and war. Other carvings, particularly of animals, have been abstracts. The camel carvings were done in proportion, showing individual legs and other lifelike elements.

Throughout the history of human settlement in the area, the camel has been both almost religiously revered and almost entirely domesticated. The newly discovered carvings show no obvious harnesses or other signs of human influence.

The excavations are part of a joint effort between the French National Center for Scientific Research and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

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