French find prehistoric animal worship site

Sep 24, 2009
French archaeologists have discovered the oldest known place of worship dedicated to the dugong, or sea cow, on an island just north of Dubai, two research centres said Thursday.

French archaeologists have discovered the oldest known place of worship dedicated to the dugong, or sea cow, on an island just north of Dubai, two research centres said Thursday.

The sanctuary believed to date back to 3,500 to 3,200 years BC was discovered on Akab island in the , 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Dubai.

The French archaeological mission in the Emirates and the Umm al-Quwain museum there said in the specialist magazine Antiquity that the sanctuary on the deserted island provided key details "on the rituals of prehistoric coastal societies in the Gulf."

Akab was a tuna fisherman's village more than 6,500 years ago with circular buildings and a pile of dugong bones detected in the 1990s.

The scientifically named "Dugong dugon" still exists in the Gulf, with adults growing up to four metres (12 feet) long and weighing up to 400 kilogrammes (880 pounds).

The sanctuary was first thought to be an abattoir but on analysis was found to be a carefully constructed platform on two levels containing the remains of around 40 dugongs as well as tools, stones and ornaments.

The archeologists said the Akab monument was used for rituals celebrating the giant mammal and "has no parallel in neolithic times in other parts of the world."

Similar structures have been found off the Australian coast but are only several hundred years old.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

Related Stories

Harmful 'red tide' hits Dubai beaches

Apr 07, 2009

Beaches in the Gulf tourism hub of Dubai have been plagued by a bloom of algae known as the "red tide" that has killed fish and is potentially harmful to humans, a municipality official said on Tuesday.

Research reveals old timers in the frog world

Mar 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Research at Victoria University has revealed remarkable longevity in wild populations of New Zealand native frogs, particularly in the threatened Maud Island frog (Leiopelma pakeka).

'Cursus' is older than Stonehenge

Jun 10, 2008

Archeologists have come a step closer to solving the 285-year-old riddle of an ancient monument thought to be a precursor to Stonehenge.

Recommended for you

More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

May 22, 2015

In a special issue, The Anatomical Record ventures into the world of human mummified remains. In 26 articles, the anatomy of mummies is exquisitely detailed through cutting edge examination, while they are put in historical, archeo ...

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl was not from Denmark

May 21, 2015

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl came from far away, as revealed by strontium isotope analyses of the girl's teeth. The analyses show that she was born and raised outside Denmark's current borders, and strontium ...

Oldest-known stone tools pre-date Homo

May 20, 2015

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.