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'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.' Pictured is a camel relief (circled in red) carved in a rock site in Al Jawf in north-west Saudi Arabia.This new finding is rare, as Arabian rock art from the Neolithic period (10,000 BC) to modern times tends to be linear and two-dimensional.The outline of what it looks like is shown right The researchers wrote in their study that the 'relative scarcity of ancient Arabian rock reliefs has been a significant barrier to understanding the development, function and socio-cultural context of such art'.The study was conducted by researchers based at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France and colleagues from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), who explored the Camel Site in 20.
Scientists suggest the area may have once been a place of worship, or that the camels were used as boundary markers.The researchers said that, though the site is hard to date, comparison with a relief at Petra in Jordan leads them to believe the sculptures were completed in the first centuries BC or AD.They said its desert setting and proximity to caravan routes suggest Camel Site - ill suited for permanent settlement - was a stopover where travelers could rest or a site of worship.The earliest examples date to around 12,000 years ago.These depictions show masked men and women dancing, and experts believe they could be mythological figures, although the meaning remains unclear.Life-sized camel sculptures dating back 2,000 years have been found at an inhospitable site in the Saudi desert.While artistic depictions of camels have existed in the region going back millennia, the latest discovery is described as 'unprecedented' in its scale.The most common themes in the Arabian peninsula are scenes of 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.A figure of a camel head can be seen in this rock-relief.Located in the province of Al Jawf in north-west Saudi Arabia, Camel Site, as it is known, was explored by a Franco-Saudi research team.The sculptures, some incomplete, were carved into three rocky spurs, and the researchers were able to identify a dozen or so reliefs representing camels.