Saudi camel carvings older than Pyramids of Giza: research

Camels carvings in Saudi Arabia are over 7,000 years old: research
2 min read
16 September, 2021
The research was led by the Saudi Ministry of Culture's Heritage Commission, which said the carvings date back to the neolithic period.
Researchers still don't know why the sculptures were created, however suggests they could have been a meeting point for nomadic tribes in the desert country [Getty]

Camel sculptures carved into rock in Saudi Arabia are the oldest large-scale animal reliefs on Earth, according to new research, suggesting they are considerably older than they were once believed to be.

The carvings were discovered in 2018, before their similarities to reliefs in Jordan, Petra, led to researchers estimating that they were created around two centuries ago, reported the BBC.

However, new research led by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture's Heritage Commission had turned what was once previously believed on its head, as it suggests the carvings could be seven to eight centuries old.

The research indicated that the carvings, present at the 'Camel Site' in Al-Jouf, dates the carvings back to the neolithic period, from between 5,600 BCE and 5,200 BCE.

Twenty-one animal carvings were found at the site, with seventeen being camels and two horses.

The commission said the camel site, in northern Saudi Arabia, is "home to the world's oldest life-size carvings".

The researchers assessed the erosion patterns, tested animal bones and analysed tool marks to help them arrive at their estimation for the sculpture's actual creation date.

According to the researchers estimations, the sculptures are older than the Pyramids of Giza, being 4,500 years old, also pre-dating the domestication of camels.

The reason for the sculpture's creation is unknown, however researchers suggest they could have been a meeting point for nomad tribes.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Saudi Heritage Commission, King Saud University, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Max Planck Institute, The Free University of Berlin, Oxford University and several others.