Hundreds Of Mysterious Stone Structures Discovered In Saudi Arabia’s Desert

Posted: Oct 20 2017, 4:06pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 20 2017, 4:14pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Hundreds of Mysterious Stone Structures Discovered in Saudi Arabia’s Desert
Credit: CNES/Airbus, via Google Earth

Nearly 400 stone structures called “gates” have been found using Google Earth

Archeologists have uncovered around 400 stone structures in the remote desert area of Saudi Arabia. The mysterious stone structures are approximately 7,000 years old and look quite similar to farm gates as seen from the air. That’s why researchers dubbed them the ‘gates.’

The discovery was made possible by satellite images on Google Earth. Researchers believe that these structures may have been built by ancient nomadic tribes, but their purpose is relatively unknown.

“We tend to think of Saudi Arabia as desert, but in practice there’s a huge archaeological treasure trove out there and it needs to be identified and mapped.” Study author David Kennedy an archaeologist from University of Western Australia wrote in an issue of the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.

Unearthed at a site in west-central Saudi Arabia called Harrat Khaybar, some of those stone gates are located right on the top a volcanic dome that spewed ballistic lava thousands of years ago. Remains of lava flow on the top of few gates indicate that these structures are even older than volcanic eruptions occurred in the region the past.

“Gates are found almost exclusively in bleak, inhospitable lava fields with scant water or vegetation, places seemingly amongst the most unwelcoming to our species,” said Kennedy. The gates "appear to be the oldest man-made structures in the landscape.”

The gates vary in lengths, ranging from about 43 feet to 1,699 feet. To put it into perspective, the longest of the gates are equivalent to NFL football field.

In mid-1990s, Dr Kennedy also led an aerial photography project over Jordan’s archaeological sites, which resulted in the discovery of several wheel-like structures covering hundreds of kilometers of a barren landscape. Those structures were up to 70 meters wide and were visible only from the sky. In his recent return to Middle East, the discovery of another similar series of structures is astonishing and could help improve our understanding of the rich archeological history of the region.

“It is impossible at the moment to date these gates except relatively. I have argued in the article that they are the earliest of the so-called ‘Works of the Old Men’, the stone-built structures found widely in Arabia from northern Syria to Yemen, but especially common in the lava fields.” Kennedy told Newsweek.

Other stone structures built by the “Old Men” include kites, pendants and walls. They were found in different areas of Middle East.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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