The Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr, tweeted on Saturday about an American study on the important archaeological discovery in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It confirms that the vast stone structures, or what is known as “rectangles”, are among the oldest archaeological sites in the world. The prince noted that these ruins are more than 7,000 years old.
Researchers reported that thousands of archaeological structures built from rock walls in Saudi Arabia are older than the Egyptian pyramids and the ancient stone circles in Britain. That makes them perhaps the oldest archaeological landscape that has yet been identified.
The study, published last Thursday in a US Antiquity magazine, showed that the age of the mysterious structures scattered around the desert in northwestern Saudi Arabia, called “rectangles,” is about 2000 years older than Stonehenge in England and any Egyptian pyramid.
Melissa Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth and the author of the study, pointed out that these views are classified as huge landscapes. The study talks about more than 1000 rectangles.
She added that these effects were found in an area of more than 200,000km and 77,000 miles. They are very similar in shapes, which indicates the possibility of all belonging to the same period.
In a related context, the lead author of the study, Hugh Thomas, an archaeologist at the same university, explained the discoveries indicate a significant level of communication present in an extensive area, which was defined by its organization, leading to a large extend of connection among people.
Some of the ancient structures are more than 1,500 feet long but are relatively narrow and often grouped.
Huge human evolution
The structures were made by stacking rocks in the form of low walls a few feet high to form tall rectangles with a thicker “vertical” division at the top end and a narrow entrance on the other side.
Archaeologist Howe Crockett, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, has studied structures on the southern edges of the Nefud Desert. He explained that most of the research revolves around adding some details to things already known, adding that the phenomenon of these rectangles is new. “These thousands of rectangles show a huge natural landscape,” he said in an email, completing that they show how this part of the world has had huge human cultural developments.
Excavations conducted in 2019 in a single room of rectangles revealed antlers and bones of wild and domesticated animals, mainly livestock, including sheep and deer. Those bones allowed researchers to date the sacrifices to around 5000BC (the late Neolithic period) when the area was wetter and greener than today’s arid landscapes. The ancient rock drawings show the herds of cattle, which should be an integral part of the Neolithic people’s livelihood in the area.
It is noteworthy that the Royal Commission funds this research for the Al-Ula Governorate, established by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to preserve the heritage of the Al-Ula region in the northwest of the country, where there are many ancient archaeological buildings.