These Newly Found 9,000-Year-Old Face Carvings Are the World's Oldest Sculptures

This significant archaeological discovery features large-scale human-built sculptures.

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Humans have been making art for centuries. According to an article published by The Atlantic, one of the oldest human artworks, which features red crosshatched strokes on a rock, is over 73,000 years old. Earlier this week, the ancient artwork portfolio got some new additions, which are considered a significant archaeological discovery.

On Tuesday, a team of Jordanian and French archaeologists announced the discovery of 9,000-year-old stone carvings in Jordan's Southeastern desert. The sculptures are believed to be a ritualistic installation used to hunt gazelles during the Neolithic period. According to CNN, the gigantic stone traps are known as "desert kites," and researchers say they are the world's oldest large-scale human-built sculptures.

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The two stone carvings, which researchers are also calling hunting traps, have been named Ghassan and Abu Ghassan. One, which stands at almost 4 feet tall, has details of the human figure, while the other smaller carving, at 2 feet tall, features a detailed human face.

Other finds at the site include a carefully arranged collection of some 150 marine fossils, a hearth, a ritual altar stone, and animal figurines.

The South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project (SEBAP) told CNN that the find sheds new light on the symbolism, artistic expression, and spiritual culture of the Neolithic populations who specialized in hunting gazelles using the "desert kites." They also added that "The sacral symbolism and ritual performance evidenced were most likely devoted to invoke the supernatural forces for successful hunts and abundance of preys to capture."

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.