A recent study said that a group of rock-carved works that embody the shape of a camel in the Saudi desert may be the oldest giant carvings of animals in the world.
These sculptures were first discovered in 2018, and researchers estimated their age at about two thousand years at that time.
The estimate of the age of these giant inscriptions was based on the similarity between them and the inscriptions discovered in the Jordanian city of Petra, but the new study estimates the age of these monuments to be about 7000 to 8000 years.
Estimating the age of the rock sculptures presents a major challenge to researchers. In contrast to the murals inside the caves, there are no organic elements that can be used as samples. Also, these huge rock carvings are rare in the region.
The scientists, who published their findings in the journal Archaeological Science, estimated patterns of erosion, analyzed marks left by carving tools, and tested animal bones found at the archaeological site to determine a new date for the carvings.
According to the new estimate of the age of these monuments, it is likely that these giant works carved in the rocks are older than the British Stonehenge monument, which is estimated to be about 5,000 years old. This new estimate also indicates that these giant inscriptions are older than the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, whose construction dates back to 4500 years, so that, according to the new estimate, they may have been inscribed before the domestication of camels, which are the main engine of economic development in the region.
The study stated that at the time of the establishment of these sculptural works, Saudi Arabia looked completely different from what it is at the present time, as there were plains where grass grew and lakes spread, instead of the deserts that we see now.
It is not yet clear why these camels were engraved in the rocks, but researchers believe that the camels were a meeting point between the Bedouin tribes.
They also suggested that establishing such works of this scale would have been very difficult thousands of years ago. Many of these inscriptions were found at a great height from the ground, which suggests that those who carved them used scaffolding to finish them.