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: New branch added to European family tree

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

New branch added to European family tree

Sep 17, 2014

The setting: Europe, about 7,500 years ago. Agriculture was sweeping in from the Near East, bringing early farmers into contact with hunter-gatherers who had already been living in Europe for tens of thousands ...

'Hidden Treasure of Rome' project unveiled

Sep 16, 2014

For more than a century, hundreds of thousands of historical artifacts dating back to before the founding of Rome have been stored in crates in the Capitoline Museums of Rome, where they have remained mostly untouched. Now, ...

NOAA team reveals forgotten ghost ships off Golden Gate

Sep 16, 2014

A team of NOAA researchers today confirmed the discovery just outside San Francisco's Golden Gate strait of the 1910 shipwreck SS Selja and an unidentified early steam tugboat wreck tagged the "mystery wreck." ...

User comments : 0