Life-sized carvings of camels and horses hewn into rock faces in Saudi Arabia could be around 7,000 years old, according to new research that suggests they are significantly older than previously thought, reports AFP.
The 21 reliefs, which were only recently discovered, are heavily eroded and were initially estimated in 2018 to be some 2,000 years old based on similarities with artworks found in Petra in Jordan. But the new research by Saudi and European institutions used a variety of different methods, including analysing tool marks and erosion patterns as well as x-ray technology, and suggests the reliefs are around 7,000 to 8,000 years old.
In the era that it was created, the region would have looked very different to the arid landscape of today, with a savannah-like grassland dotted with lakes and trees, where wild camels roamed and were hunted.
“We can now link the Camel Site to a period in prehistory when the pastoral populations of northern Arabia created rock art and built large stone structures called mustatil,” the authors said in a press release issued by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.