Ancient camel rock art found in remote Saudi Arabia 

The discovery of life-sized camel images carved into a large rock outcropping in an inhospitable area of Saudi Arabia has largely confounded researchers. 

Located in the Al Jawf province, the site contains roughly a dozen depictions believed to date back about 2,000 years. 

Gleaning more information about the people who created the works and why they did so has proven highly challenging. 

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Province of Al Jawf in northwest Saudi Arabia
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Province of Al Jawf in northwest Saudi Arabia
SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 18: Al Jawf old fort in Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2010 - The Qasa Zebal (or Qasr Zabal) . It is a fort that stands on a hill in Sakaka. It was first mentioned in 1845 by traveler George A. Wallin. This irregular shaped fort is composed of 4 towers with a circular building inside . It sits atop of a high outcrop of rock overlooking the oasis of Sakaka. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Sections of land used for center pivot irrigation sit in this aerial photograph taken near the Al-Jawf region, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.�U.K. Prime Minister May�began a visit to Jordan and Saudi Arabia�on Monday, with the goal of building security and commercial ties. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 18: Al Jawf old fort in Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2010 - The Qasa Zebal (or Qasr Zabal) . It is a fort that stands on a hill in Sakaka. It was first mentioned in 1845 by traveler George A. Wallin. This irregular shaped fort is composed of 4 towers with a circular building inside . It sits atop of a high outcrop of rock overlooking the oasis of Sakaka. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 18: Al Jawf old fort in Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2010 - The Qasa Zebal (or Qasr Zabal) . It is a fort that stands on a hill in Sakaka. It was first mentioned in 1845 by traveler George A. Wallin. This irregular shaped fort is composed of 4 towers with a circular building inside . It sits atop of a high outcrop of rock overlooking the oasis of Sakaka. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
SUWAYR, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 31, 2010: DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery of Suwayr, al-Jawf province, Saudi Arabia. (Layer 5) (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 18: Al Jawf old fort in Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2010 - The Qasa Zebal (or Qasr Zabal) . It is a fort that stands on a hill in Sakaka. It was first mentioned in 1845 by traveler George A. Wallin. This irregular shaped fort is composed of 4 towers with a circular building inside . It sits atop of a high outcrop of rock overlooking the oasis of Sakaka. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
SUWAYR, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 31, 2010: DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery of Suwayr, al-Jawf province, Saudi Arabia. (Layer 4) (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
SAUDI ARABIA - JANUARY 18: Al Jawf old fort in Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2010 - The Qasa Zebal (or Qasr Zabal) . It is a fort that stands on a hill in Sakaka. It was first mentioned in 1845 by traveler George A. Wallin. This irregular shaped fort is composed of 4 towers with a circular building inside . It sits atop of a high outcrop of rock overlooking the oasis of Sakaka. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
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The carvings show very little similarity to other reliefs in the region.

Further, no tools were found at the site and whatever tool marks may have once existed on the sculptures themselves have weathered away.

According to a release from the National Center for Scientific Research, which participated in the study, the age estimate was made through a “comparison with a relief at [Jordan]” which led “the researchers to believe the sculptures were completed in the first centuries BC or AD.”

“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 release also notes.

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