Google celebrates Jordan's ancient Ain Ghazal statues


Published: 2023-09-30 16:30

Last Updated: 2024-06-15 14:33

Google celebrates Jordan's ancient Ain Ghazal statues
Google celebrates Jordan's ancient Ain Ghazal statues

On Saturday, Google honored the prehistoric Ain Ghazal statues, initially discovered in Jordan, with a new addition to its homepage.

These hand-crafted pieces, estimated to be approximately 9,000 years old, stand as some of the earliest large-scale depictions of the human form in history.

On this day in 1983, these remarkable artifacts were first discovered in Jordan's historical lands.

The Ain Ghazal figures intricately portray men, women, and children, featuring realistic human characteristics like almond-shaped eyes, distinct noses, and detailed legs, toes, and toenails. Despite the craftsmanship, experts remain uncertain about the exact purpose behind these sculptures, crafted by anonymous artisans. However, it is known that after their intended use, these prehistoric creators deliberately buried the statues, aligning them in an east-west orientation.

Researchers suggest that Neolithic people attributed specific functions to these statues. They were fashioned, served a purpose—likely in a religious or cultic context—and then intentionally destroyed and interred, as one study points out.

Both sets of statues were brought to the US for radiocarbon dating. The first set was determined to be older, dating to around 6750 BC, give or take 80 years. The second set's creation appears to fall within 80 years of 6710 BC.

These statues have captivated global interest and are now on display in galleries such as the Jordan Museum, Jordan Archaeological Museum, British Museum, and Louvre Abu Dhabi. These venues provide a space for people to contemplate the mysteries of the past, as described in Google's Doodle description.