Qatar’s desert regions discover mysterious symbols carved into the ground

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Shady Houda’s tractors had to take the symbols away from the site

Image copyright Houssein Hassan Image caption Houssein Hassan said Qatari researchers dug out the 80 strange symbols on his rare tractors

Qatar’s desert regions have discovered 80 mysterious design symbols carved into the earth by herdsmen.

Researchers from the Qatar Bedouin Heritage Association found these intricate carvings on six agricultural tractors.

The association’s Shady Houda told the BBC that the men used axes to carve the symbols which they placed in the ground to avoid harvest losses.

The figures were carved between 300 and 1,500 years ago, Mr Houda said.

Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption A trolley illustration illustrates some of the symbols carved into the earth

The organisation has now began to travel around the Qatari deserts trying to find out where the men came from and how they originally carried out the project.

One interesting part of the story is that many of the symbols appear to suggest male-female relationships, particularly a red circle formed by three small, square-shaped rectangles.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Qatari researchers dig out the symbols on six tractors

These appear to be the same colours of ink used by the prophets Joseph, Moses and Jesus in various faiths.

This, added to the fact that the members of the tribe are black-and-white, makes the symbols unique, Mr Houda said.

“The men can not believe they have found the symbols, they don’t know what they mean,” he said.

“We can only hope the men were well-versed in Islamic civilisation.”

Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption This green illustration is thought to show a circle of four to six small rectangles inside the larger circle

Asked if the markings could have represented good luck for a farmer, Mr Houda said that this was unlikely.

“If we want that, we must go back to the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt, or the time of ancient Greek civilization,” he said.

“It is obvious that these tribal men who work the mountains are well-educated and have enough knowledge to do this, but we do not know what they believed in.”

The Gulf Arab state has faced international criticism in recent years for allegedly supporting extremism.

Fishing house on fire

In May, a UK court convicted five Qatari men of igniting a protest by Palestinians at a Dubai restaurant.

The men admitted engaging in criminal conduct in five of the six arson cases.

Later that month, Bahrain prosecutors charged a woman with stealing a beach hut that belonged to an Emirati national.

A Qatari princess, his son and an Egyptian man pleaded not guilty in that case.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption It is thought that the figures on some of the tractors were put there to avoid crop losses

The same day, a hotel fire on the Qatari coast killed two people, one American and one Spanish tourist.

This fire was discovered hours after an American woman was killed in a suicide bombing at a Baghdad Shia mosque in Iraq.

Earlier in the day, there had been a suicide car bombing in the north of Baghdad which killed 23.

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