DUBAI: Google on Saturday paid homage to the prehistoric Ain Ghazal statues first unearth in Jordan in the latest addition to its homepage.
Google’s handcrafted Doodles are intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.
Two caches of the statues — roughly 9,000 years old and considered one of the earliest large-scale representations of the human form — were unearthed, the first on this day in 1983, at the Neolithic site of Ain Ghazal, near Amman. The second group of sculptures were discovered in 1985.
The Ain Ghazal figures depict men, women, and children with intricate human features such as almond-shaped eyes, prominent noses, and realistic legs, toes and toenails. Experts still have no concrete answers why these sculptures were created by unknown craftsmen, although it is known that after the statues served their purpose, their prehistoric creators strategically buried the sculptures, aligning them east to west.
Neolithic peoples gave these statues definitive use-lives; they were created, fulfilled a purpose, presumably in some sort of religious or cultic ceremony, and then were destroyed and buried, one study noted.
Both caches of statues where brought to the US to undergo radiocarbon dating: the first was found to be older at 80 years before or after 6750 BC while the second cache’s statues’ creation seemed to lie within 80 years of 6710 BC.
The statues have gained global interest and can be viewed today at galleries such as the Jordan Museum, Jordan Archaeological Museum, British Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi, where people can go to ponder the mysteries of the past, Google explained in its description of the Doodle.