An international team of researchers with the participation of the University of Freiburg has identified the inscriptions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as the oldest known building plans in human history. An international team of researchers has identified inscriptions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as the oldest known building plans of archaeological finds that are 8,000 to 9,000 years old and depict nearby desert dragons – the massive prehistoric structures used. The findings will help us understand how desert dragons were conceived and built.
Although human constructions have modified natural spaces for thousands of years, few plans or maps predate the period of the learned civilizations of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Researchers from the French research organization CNRS, together with Prof. Dr. Frank Breusser of the University of Freiburg, have identified the inscriptions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as the oldest known inscriptions – to scale of building plans in human history. Engravings from 8,000 to 9,000 years old depict so-called desert dragons – huge, kilometer-long prehistoric structures used to hunt animals. “Inferences can be drawn from the findings about people at the time. Being able to transfer a large area into a small two-dimensional plan is a major milestone in intelligent behavior,” explains Breuser. The results, published in mid-May in the Scientific Journal Plus oneshould help understand how the desert dragons were conceived and built.
Discovery of scale diagrams of desert dragons in Jordan and Saudi Arabia
Both finds are representations of nearby desert dragons carved with stone tools. First seen from aircraft in the 1920s, Desert Dragons consists of stone walls that converge into a complex bordered by craters, up to five kilometers long. As archaeologists have been able to determine in recent years, they were used to hunt wild animals on a massive scale. In Jordan, there are eight desert dragons in the Khasabiya Mountains region. There, researchers found a drawing carved on stone measuring 80 by 32 cm. It is about 9,000 years old. In Jabal Al-Zaliyat in Saudi Arabia, two pairs of dragons were found visible at a distance of three and a half kilometers. Here, too, a small-scale inscription dating back about 8,000 years ago, with a total length of 382 cm and a width of 235 cm, was discovered.
The plans of the large structures have so far only been substantiated by rough representations, in stark contrast to the subtlety of the Khashabiya and Zailiyya inscriptions. The question of their exact use and how they were carried out, especially because of the difficulty of assimilating the entire complex from the ground, remains for the time being a mystery to the people who created them.