Cave symbols found in Qatar’s desert

Celestial symbols have been found carved into caves in Qatar’s vast arid desert, a development that could change the face of Arab archaeology.

Dr. Nawaf Al-Ali, of Qatar’s Department of Antiquities and Museums, said the symbols were first found at Mast Al Ghabshah, a tower-like structure located near Doha.

Numerous ancient designs had been found in the first three months of excavations, Al-Ali told the newspaper Al-Thani. He said the most prominent object is a 6-ton marble carving of a flower and would ultimately belong to the Haraam era. He also said underground tunnels, 13 in all, were confirmed.

Bodily remains were found inside the tunnels, and the dates make it a work of Hasan al-Aswadi, an important heritage figure in Qatar during its pre-modern time, he said.

The string of symbols is believed to be either a sign or symbol of the Azeri faith, considered sacred by Qataris, and could also refer to the Muslim endowment system and the use of underground tunnels to transport cattle and caravans, Al-Ali said.

The drawings and tunnels had been found before, but only partially. The discovery has a wider significance as “an attempt to implement modern technology on ancient sites,” said Al-Ali.

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