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[…] In March 2010, the SCTA flew Saudi and international archaeologists and pre‑historians to al‑Magar for a brief daytime survey.
This impressive discovery reflects the importance of the site as a centre and could possibly the birthplace of an advanced prehistoric civilization that witnessed domestication of animals, particularly the horse, for the first time during the Neolithic period”Harrigan has already emphasized how “the discovery at al‑Magar and the electrifying question it raises come as Saudi Arabia experiences a resurgent pride not only in its archaeological heritage but also, particularly, in the legacy and culture of the desert‑bred Arabian horse”.
Making the heart of the Arabian Peninsula the cradle of the Arabian horse and of horsemanship was not only a matter of scientific debate, it also achieved ideological purposes.
The animal sculptures could be part of this occupation and some of them definitely depict equids.
However neither the presence of horses in this part of Arabia nor their domestication 3,000 years earlier than expected can be proved on the basis of the sculptures on site.
Gathering contributions on the topic of the horse in Arabia and the place of the Arabian horse in the medieval Islamic world allows us to draw an overview of the current knowledge about the issue of the introduction of the horse to Arabia (see Robin and Antonini), of the origin of the Arabian breed (see Olsen), of the significance and contribution of Arabian rock art (see Robin and Antonini, Olsen), of the role of the horse in Rasulid diplomacy (see Mahoney) and in Mamlūk culture (see Berriah, Carayon), of the emergence of the myth of the Arabian horse in the 19th‑century Arabian Peninsula (see Pouillon), and on the specific issue of horse armour from the late pre‑Islamic period to the Ottoman empire (see Nicolle).