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Posted On: 20 February 2023 01:00 pm
Updated On: 20 February 2023 02:18 pm

What's in store for you at the Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site

Cassandra Pallagud
Cassandra Pallagud
Content Writer
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Al jassasiya rock art carvings archaeological heritage site

Qatar is known for its skyscrapers, stunning architecture, state-of-the-art facilities, and modern way of life. However, have you ever wondered about this beautiful nation's history and humble beginnings?

The rich history of Qatar can be explored and discovered through its numerous heritage sites that tell its wonderous past. One of the sites is the Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site, where visitors can find stunning rock carvings or 'petroglyphs' engraved on sandstones.

Note: Please be respectful to this site. Do not litter.

How to get to Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site?

Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site
The Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site is easily accessible!

Located north of Qatar, the Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site can be easily travelled by car and will take approximately 45-60 minutes.

Travel north on Al Shamal Highway, take a right at Exit 66 and take a left at the first intersection. Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site will be on your left.

The site is easily accessible by a sedan car as it is located just by the road.

What are petroglyphs?

Al Jassasiya Petroglyphs
How cool are these carvings?

Petroglyphs are rock carvings made by chiselling or pecking on the stone surface to carve drawings using tools or other stones. These rock carvings differ from rock paintings, which are called pictographs.

There are over 900 petroglyphs to be explored at Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site.

Which period are the rock carvings of the Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site from?

Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site
Are you excited to explore and learn more?

Discovered in 1957, the site was comprehensively studied in 1974 by researchers and archaeologists.

According to Qatar Museums, initial studies suggest that the rock carvings may date back to the Neolithic period. New evidence, however, suggests that they were likely made within the past 250 years.

Local and international archaeologists continue to study the site to understand its historical timeline further.

Petroglyphs to spot

Boat carvings

Al Jassasiya Rock boat carvings
Can you make out the boat shapes?

The boat carvings are among the most interesting and popularly sought-after rock carvings at Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site. These carvings depict the boats from an aerial view.

Al Jassasiya was a village with low hills believed to have served as an observation point for incoming ships. Qatar is also known to have been a thriving fishing and pearling village, thus the significance of the etchings.

Other researchers, however, believe these boat carvings have a deeper meaning and are drawn from folklore symbolizing boats as a means of transit from this life to the next.

Rosettes and stars

Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site rosettes
Look at how beautiful the carvings are!

Explore the vast area and spot the rosette or star-shaped carvings. These carvings look like cups etched into the stone, forming the shape of rosettes or stars. Researchers believe that they were once used to hold pearls.


Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site cups
What do you think these cup carvings were used for?

The most common markings in Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site are the 'cups' carvings, usually found in two rows of seven. Similar carvings have been found around the globe as well.

The arrangement of the cup carvings suggests that they were used to play 'mancala', known in Qatar as Al Haloosa or Al Huwaila, an antique board game played by many cultures in the past.

There are also other theories surrounding these cup carvings as either holding religious significance, used to sort pearls, or even used as a system of computing time and tides.

Please note:

  • Keep to marked tracks.
  • Respect animals and plants.
  • Place litter in bins or take them with you.
  • Do not climb on the archaeological structures.
  • Do not pick up any objects.
  • No fires or barbecues.
  • No graffiti.


BONUS: Al Jassasiya Beach

Al Jassasiya Beach
Just look at that pristine beach!

Once you're done exploring the Al Jassasiya Rock Site, it's well worth visiting Al Jassasiya Beach, which is less than a 10-minute drive from the site.

Al Jassasiya Beach has fine white sand and beautiful blue waters that can be accessed by the public. The beach is between Al Maroona and Azerbaijani Beach.

Please keep Qatar clean; do not leave trash behind.


    Are you interested in Qatar's history? Will you be visiting Al Jassasiya Rock Art Site? Let us know in the comments! Do share this article - it keeps us going!