Doha (Qatar), September 9 : A team of scientists working in the western region of Qatar has discovered evidence in the form of hunting tools of early man which challenges the existing history of the country and the Southern Arabian region.
According to a report in the Gulf Times, exploring under the patronage of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), the scientists found basic hunting tools which they believe date back 700,000 to 800,000 years.
If accurate, the discovery means early man lived in Qatar far earlier than was previously believed.
QMA CEO Abdullah al-Najjar said that this provided a remarkable picture of prehistoric migration.
"Through the sands of time, we can start to understand the people who first lived on Qatar soil. It is a magnificent discovery," he said.
The ancient tools have been found on a terrace leading down to a gigantic depression that used to be a freshwater lake.
Bo Madsen of Moesg rd Museum in Denmark described that "not only are these tools the oldest traces of man in South Arabia, they are among the oldest in the whole world."
The most spectacular tools are some large hand axes and cleavers used to slaughter wild game like elephants, aurochs and deer. Besides, knives and scrapers used to clean fur, have also been found.
Till now, most archaeologists have thought that early man migrated from Africa through the Nile Valley via Palestine to Europe and Asia, but the new finds indicate that man also followed another direction via the Arabian Peninsula.
The archaeologists are eager to continue the investigations in co-operation with geologists. Together they intend to study the geology of the area and the levels in which the flint tools were found, in order to reconstruct the environment in which the oldest inhabitants of Qatar lived.
According to Madsen, "The tools found so far were found on the surface - they have been uncovered because wind and rain have eroded the levels."
"The next step is to make a real archaeological excavation, to find the levels of the settlement. We then need geologists to date the levels containing the flint tools," he explained.