Carved sculptures of a donkey face the partial head of a camel are seen at a site north of the city of Sakaka. AFP / Fayez Nureldine
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Squinting in the Saudi desert, Hussain al-Khalifah points at his unprecedented archaeological discovery – camels carved on russet-hued rocky spurs that could shed new light on the evolution of rock art.Chiseled on three rocky spurs, the sculptures, which also depict equids, or hoofed mammals, show a level of artistic skill unseen in other rock art forms in the Saudi desert.The three dimensional engravings in Al-Jouf, some featuring only part of a camel's body such as the hooves, differ from those discovered at other Saudi sites.One engraving in particular stands out – a camel facing what appears to be a donkey, mule or horse, animals that have rarely been represented in the region's rock art.The kingdom is endowed with thousands of examples of painted rock art and ancient inscriptions.Archaeologists last year used Google Maps to find hundreds of stone "gates" built from rock in a remote Saudi desert, which may date back as far as 7,000 years.The carvings in Al-Jouf may be the most significant recent discovery.
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