9,000-Year-Old Neolithic Site Discovered in Jordan Desert

The anthropomorphic carvings represent one of the earliest examples of artistic expression in the Middle East. South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project

Well-Preserved, 9,000-Year-Old Shrine Discovered in Jordan Desert

by David Kindy/Smithsonianmag.com

Archaeologists digging in the deserts of Jordan have unearthed a well-preserved Neolithic religious site believed to be around 9,000 years old, reports Omar Akour for the Associated Press (AP).

Located in the Khashabiyeh Mountains, in the eastern Al-Jafr Basin, the shrine features two large standing stones carved with anthropomorphic figures, as well as an altar and hearth. The team also found almost 150 marine fossils and a small-scale model of a “desert kite,” or trap used to capture and slaughter wild gazelles.

“The site is unique, first because of its preservation state,” Wael Abu-Aziza, co-director of the South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project (SEBAP), tells the AP. “It’s 9,000 years old and everything was almost intact.”

According to a statement from the state-run Jordan News Agency, the shrine is part of a Neolithic campsite that contains multiple full-size desert kites. As Matthew Traver wrote for BBC Travel in 2020, the V-shaped traps consist of two or more rows of stone walls that converge on an enclosure. Neolithic hunters probably worked in teams to herd animals into the enclosed cells and slaughter them. An estimated 5,800 such structures are scattered across the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Read the Full Article at: SmithsonianMag.com


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