Stone decorated with two animals

Jordan, about 6,200 BC

This basalt rock is decorated with two animals scratched onto its surface. They are probably gazelles and one appears to be drinking milk from the other.

It was found at the Dhuweila 1 site in Jordan, which was first occupied around 6,500 BC and again later re-occupied after 5,500 BC by hunting groups.

The rock was discovered near a series of stone walls that would have been built by hunters, possibly as a gazelle trap. The hunters would drive herds between the walls until they came to a dead end and could be easily killed.

There is evidence for such structures being used elsewhere in the Middle East until at least the nineteenth century.

Another theory is that these walls could represent the remains of corrals, enclosures which would have been built to herd and protect semi-domesticated animals.

The decoration on this rock may have been a good luck charm either for a good hunt or a healthy herd.

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This object features in A History of the World in 100 objects

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