By Tom Batchelor
BBC News, Doha
Described as pyramids, bulls and goats, the inscriptions were etched in sand 10 years ago by a group of Qatari desert scavengers. It is thought they were sand dunes, or the missing pieces of giant desert animals, that were taking advantage of a fragile but cherished diggable sand dune. The scavengers carved the symbols into the dunes where they had fallen and fell again. The only clue? An abandoned hatchet. The symbols were found by a group of archeologists who had traced dips and dips in the dunes for decades. These are significant excavations because they have brought history to life from another time
Archaeology department director They were hidden beneath the hard-packed sand by now. “They had been there for quite a while, 10 years,” archaeologist Aziz al-Barrak told the BBC News website. “The field staff had a good look in 2003 and what they found, strangely enough, was a fork of sand that had fallen down, and there were maybe, in an effort to decipher the text, carvings, symbols and so on. The images point to an Islamic burial site “It had become very, very rocky, very, very hard. But from that divot that they found in 2003, they later found five to six other divots, which they then found from that same divot and we found letters, numbers and still more. “But these are significant excavations because they have brought history to life from another time.” Dunes, like caves, can be very difficult to reach and once many have been dug out archaeologists can discover the full significance of what they have found. Hanging on a nearby cliff is the remains of the dune from which the symbols were carved. The figures are dated to the second century AD – but no one seems sure where they were drawn. Those with a sense of local history will also recognise the animals as having been indigenous to Doha, which was then an important trading post on the route between the region and Morocco.
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