14 April 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The Earliest Evidence of a Domesticated Dog in the Arabian Peninsula

Dogs have been the best friend of humans since ancient times. Although it is not known exactly when dogs were included in human life, it is possible to say that this history goes back every day.

A team of archaeologists from the northwestern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has uncovered the earliest evidence of dog domestication by the region’s ancient peoples.

Recent excavations by the Aerial Archeology project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AAKSA) have found substantial skeletal material, evidence for funerary offerings, including jewelry, and the earliest chronometrically dated domestic dog in the Arabian Peninsula.

Evidence suggests that the earliest use of the tomb was around 4300 B.C. and was buried for at least 600 years in the Neolithic-Chalcolithic era – an indication that the inhabitants may have had a common memory of people, places, and the connections between them.

“What we are finding will revolutionize how we view periods like the Neolithic in the Middle East. To have that kind of memory, that people may have known for hundreds of years where their kin was buried – that’s unheard of in this period in this region,” said Melissa Kennedy, assistant director of the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AAKSAU) – AlUla project.

AlUla is at a point where we’re going to begin to realize how important it was to the development of mankind across the Middle East,” said the AAKSAU director, Hugh Thomas.

dog bone
The dog’s bones were dated between circa 4200 and 4000 BCE.

This is the earliest evidence of a domesticated dog in the Arabian Peninsula by a margin of circa 1,000 years.

The project team, together with Saudi Arabia and international members, focused their work on two above-ground cemeteries from the 5th to 4th centuries BC, 130 kilometers apart, one on the volcanic heights and the other on the arid wasteland.  The research team discovered these locations by using satellite images and then taking aerial photographs by helicopter. The ground field survey started at the end of 2018.

At the scene of the volcanic highlands, 26 bone fragments of a dog were found, as well as bones of 11 people-six adults, one teenager, and four children.

The dog’s bones showed signs of arthritis, suggesting that the animal lived with humans to middle age or old age.

After assembling the bones, the team then had to determine that they were from a dog and not from a similar animal such as a desert wolf. Zoo archaeologist Laura Strolin was able to show that it was indeed a dog by examining, in particular, one bone on the animal’s left front leg. The width of this bone was 21.0 mm, which corresponds to the range of other ancient Middle Eastern dogs. For comparison, the wolves of that time and place were 24.7 to 26 mm wide for the same bone.

The dog’s bones were dated between circa 4200 and 4000 BCE.

The rock art found in the area shows that the Neolithic residents used dogs and other animals when hunting ibexes.

The researchers expect more findings in the future as a result of the massive survey from the air and on the ground, and the multiple targeted excavations in the AlUla region conducted by the AAKSAU and other teams, operating under the auspices of the Royal Commission for AlUla.

The findings are published in the Journal of Field Archaeology

Related Articles

The discovery of great importance for Urartian archeology in Çavuştepe castle: Discovered a horse skeleton with a bronze curb bit in its jaw

28 September 2023

28 September 2023

Archaeologists unearthed a horse skeleton with a bronze curb bit (a metal piece inserted into its mouth to guide the...

Temple of Olympian Zeus Horse Frieze Found a Depth of 9 Meters off the Coast of Agrigento, Sicily

5 February 2024

5 February 2024

A large marble relief believed to have been part of the Temple of Olympian Zeus frieze in Agrigento, Sicily, has...

The World’s First Pet Cemetery May Have Been Found in Ancient Egypt

2 March 2021

2 March 2021

Hundreds of animal skeletons found in Berenice harbor in 2011 made researchers think that this place was used as a...

A new Indo-European Language discovered in the Hittite capital Hattusa

21 September 2023

21 September 2023

The Çorum Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism announced in a written statement that a new Indo-European language was discovered...

A 5,000-year-old large house has been discovered in China’s Yangshao Village

7 December 2022

7 December 2022

Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology archaeologists have excavated the ruins of house foundations dating back more than...

1-meter tall bronze statue found in China’s Sanxingdui Ruins-Video

17 June 2022

17 June 2022

Chinese archaeologists have discovered a 1-meter tall bronze statue at the site of ancient Sanxingdui ruins site in southwest China’s...

Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of what may be one of the four lost Ancient Egyptian “Sun Temples”

31 July 2022

31 July 2022

A Polish and Italian archaeological mission, while conducting an excavation in the Abusir necropolis near Saqqara in Egypt, unearthed the...

In Germany, a well-preserved octagonal tower unearthed, which may have been inspired by towers on the city walls of Constantinople

5 September 2023

5 September 2023

During excavations at Neuenburg Castle near the town of Freyburg (Burgenlandkreis) in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, the extraordinarily well-preserved,...

Archaeological excavations started again after 50 years in Tunceli Tozkoparan mound

28 June 2021

28 June 2021

Archaeological excavations at the Tozkoparan Mound in Turkey’s Tunceli province are anticipated to turn the city into one of eastern...

An 1800-year-old geometric patterned mosaic was discovered in Turkey’s ancient city of Bergama

17 June 2022

17 June 2022

During excavations surrounding the Red Basilica at Pergamon, an ancient city in western Turkey that is a UNESCO World Heritage...

Scientists discover traces of paint on the Parthenon Sculptures that reveal their true colours

12 October 2023

12 October 2023

Recent research on the Parthenon Sculptures has found traces of the original paint used to decorate the Parthenon Sculptures, revealing...

Excavations at the site in the coastal city of São Luís, Brazil uncovered thousands of artifacts left by ancient peoples up to 9,000 years ago

4 February 2024

4 February 2024

Archaeologists unearthed 43 human skeletons and more than 100,000 artifacts at an excavation site in the coastal city of São...

An ancient Roman road has been discovered in the Venice Lagoon

24 July 2021

24 July 2021

Researchers discovered a Roman road submerged in the Venice Lagoon. The finding suggests that substantial communities may have existed in...

A marble block depicting the mythological story of Actaeon, who was killed by his dogs, was found in the ancient city of Prusias ad Hypium

7 August 2022

7 August 2022

A marble block depicting the mythological story of Actaeon  (Akteon), who was killed by his dogs, was found during the...

‘Exceptional’ Viking Age silver treasure found in Norway

27 October 2022

27 October 2022

A treasure trove of silver fragments from the Viking Age has been discovered in Stjørdal, near Trondheim in central Norway....