The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
-- French archaeologists have discovered
the oldest known place of worship dedicated to the dugong, or sea cow, in the
Akab island south of the Persian Gulf, two research centres said Thursday.
The sanctuary believed to date back
to 3,500 to 3,200 years BCE was discovered on Akab island in in what is today
known as UAE, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Dubai.
The French archaeological mission in
the UAE 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 Persian Gulf, with adults growing up to four
metres (12 feet) long and weighing up to 400 kilograms (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
The archaeologists 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.
Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)