At a outstanding website in northwest Saudi Arabia, a CNRS archaeologist1 and colleagues from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) have found camelid sculptures in contrast to any others in the area. They are thought to this point again to the primary centuries BC or AD.2 The discover sheds new gentle on the evolution of rock artwork in the Arabian Peninsula and is the topic of an article revealed in Antiquity (February 2018).
Located in the province of Al Jawf in northwest Saudi Arabia, Camel Site, as it’s identified, was explored in 2016 and 2017 by a Franco-Saudi analysis group. The sculptures, some incomplete, had been executed on three rocky spurs there. Though pure erosion has partly destroyed some of the works, in addition to any traces of instruments, the researchers had been in a position to establish a dozen or so reliefs of various depths representing camelids and equids. The life-sized sculpted animals are depicted with out harnessing in a pure setting. One scene in specific is unprecedented: it contains a dromedary assembly a donkey, an animal hardly ever represented in rock artwork. Some of the works are thus thematically very distinct from the representations typically found in this area. Technically, in addition they differ from these found at different Saudi websites — often easy engravings of dromedaries with out reduction — or the sculpted facades of Al Ḩijr (Madâ’in Şâliḩ). In addition, sure Camel Site sculptures on higher rock faces reveal indeniable technical abilities. Camel Site can now be thought of a serious showcase of Saudi rock artwork in a area particularly propitious for archaeological discovery.
Though the location is tough to this point, comparability with a reduction at Petra (Jordan) leads the researchers to consider the sculptures had been accomplished in the primary centuries BC or AD. Its desert setting and proximity to caravan routes recommend Camel Site — sick suited to everlasting settlement — was a stopover the place vacationers might relaxation or a website of worship.
Notes: The archaeologist is a analysis engineer on the Orient et Méditerranée analysis unit (CNRS / Sorbonne University / University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / EPHE / Collège de France). This mission includes one other researcher in France, from the TRACES analysis unit (CNRS / University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès / French Ministry of Culture and Communication).  These discoveries had been made inside the scope of the Dumat al Jandal archaeological mission, directed by researchers Guillaume Charloux (CNRS) and Romolo Loreto (University of Naples L’Orientale), and supported by the SCTH; the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Labex RESMED, half of the French Investissements d’Avenir program; and the French Center for Archaeology and Social Sciences (CEFAS).