Thousands of antiquities discovered in northwestern Saudi Arabia may be among the oldest known religious ritual sites in the world; It dates back to the end of the sixth millennium BC, before the famous stone monument Stonehenge in southwest England, which is the most famous monumental stone monument in Europe.
And the Saudi Minister of Culture, Badr bin Abdullah, announced, on Saturday, that his country had found stone structures “that are the oldest in the world.” Read also The pyramid builders were distinguished workers or slaves? .. Archeology and Pharaonic economics controversy The war of antiquities and antiques .. The mystery of a license from the Ottomans opens a confrontation between Greece and Britain Sculptures that simulate antiquities and the succession of civilizations … The “Cave” museum in Idlib countryside dates back thousands of years It goes back to multiple historical periods, including Punic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic … the legacy of the sunken antiquities in Tunisia
The minister described the discovered structures, which are in the form of rocky rectangles, as older than the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, in a tweet via his verified Twitter account.
“The discovery confirms that the huge stone structures in that region are the oldest in the world, as they are over 7,000 years old,” he said.
In his tweet, the Saudi minister shared a link to a British study on this discovery, which was published Thursday in the prestigious scientific journal Antiquity.
The research team wrote that “these monuments in terms of architecture are more complex than was previously assumed, as they are distinguished by rooms, entrances, and upright stone slabs.” Where there are many of these rocky rectangles.
Stone rectangles (called mustaches in the study) were documented for the first time in 2017, using satellite imagery that revealed the size and number of these mysterious structures in the desert lava field in northern Arabia. They were called “gates” because of their appearance from the air, and they were described as “two lines.” Two short and thick stones of stacked stone, roughly parallel, linked by two or more walls, much longer and thinner, “according to scientific reports.
And researchers saw – in the study published in the journal of the Cambridge Press – that thousands of archaeological rock structures in the desert in northwestern Saudi Arabia are more than 7 thousand years old, some appear in the form of low walls that take the form of rectangles, and researchers believe that they may have been built to guide and guide a procession during march.
“These structures can now be interpreted as ritual installations dating back to the end of the sixth millennium BC,” a team of researchers wrote in the paper published on April 30. “Recent excavations have revealed the oldest evidence of cattle worship in the Arabian Peninsula.”
The researchers suggest that one of the rectangles was built by transporting more than 12,000 tons of basalt stone, which is a daunting task that must have taken tens of months to complete, according to the Anadolu Agency. Advertising
The study indicated that at the front of the walls of many of these rectangles was found on a small stone or place that appears to have been used to make animal sacrifices, however, scientists seem not sure of the beliefs of the ancient inhabitants who built these structures, and also there are a number of mysteries that remain to be solved. For example, why are so few “mustaches” built on the slopes of volcanoes?
Lead author Hugh Thomas , an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, tells Art Newspaper , “We believe that people created these structures for ritual purposes in the Neolithic period, which involved making sacrifices of wild and domestic animals to an unknown deity (s).”
“Given the sheer size of some of these buildings, this would have required a lot of effort, so it is very likely that communities or larger groups of people came together to build them, and this indicates the existence of a large social organization and a common goal or belief,” he added.
A desert desert
“Thousands of rectangles are already showing what looks like a huge landscape, ” Huo Grokut, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Sciences of Human History (he was not involved in the study) told NBC News, “Thousands of rectangles are already showing what looks like a huge landscape.” Part of the world is far from the arid desert that people often imagine. Rather, it is located in a place where there have been remarkable human cultural developments. “
Some observers have argued in the past that stone rectangles were used traps for animals , but the new study showed that the walls with a height of about 4 feet were not high enough to contain many of the animals, according to ” Smithsonian magazine American” (Smithsonian Magazine).
Instead, evidence indicates that the structures hosted ritual activity.In the central room of a landmark, researchers found many cow bones, as well as sheep, goat, and deer bones, given the impossibility of evidence that people lived at the site, and ignorance of how to dispose of leftover meals. Food is there, the authors hypothesize that the bones were most likely a part of sacrificial rituals.
Radiocarbon analysis dates the bones between 5300 and 5000 BC, making them about two thousand years older than Stonehenge, or even the Egyptian pyramids, according to the study.
The researchers noted that livestock played an essential role in the life of the shepherds residing in the region, which was more fertile 7 thousand years ago than it is today, and this is consistent with studies and climatic data confirming that the Arabian Peninsula was more humid in the past.
Previous studies have documented ancient rock art and scenes of grazing cattle in the region. As the cattle need a lot of water to survive, this discovery also leads to “a better understanding of what was like the late Neolithic period in this part of the Arabian Peninsula.”
Says co-author Melissa A. Kennedy – an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia – “What excites me most about these structures is their size and wide distribution, and the fact that they are almost identical in shape.” Large northwestern Arabia in the late Neolithic period, a feature unmatched so far anywhere in the world. “
Reports on the archaeological study confirm that these stone rectangles represent important archives from prehistoric times in the Arabian Peninsula, and future research and excavations are likely to be very useful in providing a better understanding of the ancient social and cultural developments in the region.