(Correction: This story initially reported the epitaph was graffitied in 1948; it was carved in 1960.)
Qatari archaeologists have excavated four flat stones — which they believe are 4,000 years old — that feature images etched into them that some have taken to be parts of funeral rites.
Mangal Fulenzi, head of the department of prehistory at Doha’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, said the markings, which include intestines and a buried head, date back to the Middle East region known as the Levant, the BBC reported.
“The etchings have been seen since we discovered them in 1960, but did not look like anything,” Fulenzi told the news outlet. “It was not until recently that we could reconstruct them in detail.”
Among the features are gut, intestines and a burial position. Most are upside down, with their mouths facing the ground and one shows a head with “an inscrutable entrails” structure inside, according to the BBC.
Fulenzi believes the monuments were part of burial rituals and, while simple, illustrate “the significance of the deceased.”
The Telegraph reported that Fulenzi believes the etchings could date back as far as the 8th century and were carved over the span of decades.
Archaeologists say the patterns could have been made by an ancient Arabic player piano and the site is well preserved. Fulenzi told the Telegraph that the area was one of the center points for trading between different regions and the Middle East and Mediterranean.
The BBC reported that the Et al-Raqqa district was thought to be ground zero for massive nomadic warlocks, known as the Moors, before the formation of the Persian empire in the 8th century A.D.