Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News



Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

03 Mar 2018
Share on Facebook

An article by Ruth Schuster on - 2,000-year-old Life-size Camel Art Found in Heart of Saudi Arabian Desert - reports on the numerous life-sized stone sculptures and reliefs of camels found in northern Saudi Arabia.

Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

High relief of standing dromedary. Image: Al Jawf, Saudi Arabia CNRS / MADAJ / R. Schwerdtner.

While camelid art has existed in the region going back millennia, nothing quite like this has been found before.  Theories include veneration, boundary marker or perhaps, a very long tradition of camel appreciation.

Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

The 'Camel Site' in Al Jawf, northwest Saudi Arabia. Image: SIFAP, DaJ, G. Charloux.

Article continues below

The sculptures have been tentatively dated at roughly 2,000 years old, according to a collaboration between the French National Center for Scientific Research and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, as reported recently in the Cambridge journal of Antiquity.

Relief carvings of two dromedaries in single file on Spur C at Camel Site, Al Jawf, Saudi Arabia. Image: CNRS, MADAJ, R. Schwerdtner.

Archaeologists studying the 'Camel Site' in Al Jawf, a province in northwest Saudi Arabia near Jordan, suggest the sculptures are a facet of a broader Arabian tradition that was probably influenced by the Parthians (ancient Iranians) and nomadic Nabateans from preceding centuries.

Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

Relief of two dromedaries - calf following adult (legs alone visible). Image: Al Jawf, Saudi Arabia. CNRS, MADAJ, G, Charloux.

Ancient rock reliefs are not rare in the Near East, ranging from Turkey to Mesopotamia. Israel's Negev Desert has numerous examples. But they are rare in Saudi Arabia. Rock art in Saudi Arabia generally consists of hunting scenes, geometric forms and animals, but no known life-size sculptures of camels such as these.

Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

Bas-relief of dromedary head. Image: Antiquity - CNRS, MADAJ, C. Poliakoff. Drawing by Dr. Guillaume Charloux.

The archaeologists, led by Dr. Guillaume Charloux of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), with Hussain al-Khalifah, Thamer al-Malki, and Romain Mensan, state that this rarity has impeded the understanding of the function and socio-cultural context of the art. Furthermore, no associated artifacts were found at the Camel Site providing clues about the art's origin.

Discovery of life size camel reliefs in Saudi Arabia

Relief depicting recumbent dromedary raising head towards an equid, possibly a donkey or mule. Image: Antiquity, CNRS, MADAJ, G. Charloux.

For all the art, the Camel Site seems not to have been inhabited. The area has not attracted permanent human settlement. This is a testimony to its importance for surrounding populations.

The site may have been a place of veneration for generations, or it may have been a boundary marker., or perhaps a rest stop for caravans.

The sculptures were carved on three rocky spurs, on 12 panels. There are at least 11 camels, some are shown alone, some in trains and some meeting other animals. All are carved in proportion. Some of the sculptures would have required  scaffolding or a system of ropes.

The team point out that Al Jawf's Camel Site is on a privately owned property and has been damaged by modern construction works.

Visit the Rock Art of Saudi Arabia Archive:

Read the full article:


** Like Page below to receive our articles on Facebook **
05 Mar 2019
25 Jan 2019
30 Oct 2018
26 Sep 2018
Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Privacy Policy Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation