4 December 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

Researchers reveal the 4,500-year-old network of funerary avenues in Arabian Peninsula

Archaeologists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) have determined that people living in ancient northwest Arabia built long-distance “funerary avenues” (major pathways flanked by thousands of burial monuments).

This complex network of funerary rites found in northwestern Arabia points to the existence of social and economic links between the region’s populations in the 3rd millennium BC.

The UWA search is part of a larger effort involving 13 archaeological and conservation project teams from across the world, all working under the auspices of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU).

The researchers recorded more than 17,800 ‘pendant’ tombs in their primary study areas of AlUla and Khaybar counties, using a combination of satellite imagery, aerial photography, ground surveys, and excavations to survey an area of 160,000 square kilometers. Around 11,000 of the tombs formed part of funerary avenues from 4,500 years ago.

(a) A dense funerary avenue with ‘wedge-tailed’ pendants and infilled ringed cairns emanating from Khaybar Oasis. (b) A sparse funerary avenue consisting of various pendant types oriented towards a series of pathways formed over sandstone terrain. Photo: © AAKSAU/AAKSAK and Royal Commission for AlUla.

The highest densities are found on basalt plains or mountain passes, where the avenues are oriented between oases such as Khaybar, AlUla, and Tayma and are located near permanent water sources.

The development of funeral pathways implies that sophisticated social perspectives existed throughout a large stretch of the Arabian Peninsula 4,500 years ago. The discovery adds to the steady progress made by archaeologists working under the aegis of RCU in unraveling the buried tale of north Arabia’s ancient kingdoms and older civilization.

Schematic drawings of pendant morphologies common in AlUla and Khaybar counties
Schematic drawings of pendant morphologies common in AlUla and Khaybar counties. Photo:© AAKSAU/AAKSAK and Royal Commission for AlUla

Dr. Hugh Thomas, project director, said: “The research by the UWA team and our colleagues working across AlUla and Khaybar shows how important the archaeology of this region is for our understanding of the Neolithic and Bronze Age across the Middle East. Our findings demonstrate that these structures linked various populated oases, situated across a vast area and that the funerary avenues were established around 4,500 years ago. They are especially dense around Khaybar, which is one of the densest visible funerary landscapes anywhere in the world.”

The findings were published in the journal The Holocene. The new article is the UWA team’s fourth publication in less than a year in a peer-reviewed scientific journal on research at AlUla and Khaybar.

Dr. Rebecca Foote, Director of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research for RCU, said: “Projects that have been conducting fieldwork in AlUla and Khaybar for over three years, such as the UWA team, have started publishing their results, and it is terrific to see how analyses of the data are elucidating so many aspects of life from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age in north-west Arabia. These articles are just the beginning of the many publications that will advance our knowledge of prehistoric to modern times and have significant implications for the wider region.”

Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU)

Banner
Related Post

134 ancient settlements discovered north of Hadrian’s Wall

26 May 2022

26 May 2022

134 ancient settlements have been found during a survey of the region north of Hadrian’s Wall in the United Kingdom....

Oman discovers fort dating back to the 5th century in North Al Batinah

12 March 2022

12 March 2022

A fort dating back to the 5th century has been discovered at Oman’s Al Fulaij archaeological site in North Al...

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of sixth-century coins in ancient Phanagoria in Russia

27 July 2021

27 July 2021

Archaeologists have discovered 80 coins known as Copper staters dating back to the sixth century at Phanagoria on the Black...

A spectacular rare ancient Roman bronze coin depicting the moon goddess was discovered off the coast of Israel

25 July 2022

25 July 2022

A rare 1850-year-old exceptionally well-preserved bronze coin depicting the Roman moon goddess Luna has been found off the coast of...

Neanderthals caused ecosystems to change 125,000 years ago

16 December 2021

16 December 2021

Researchers say Neanderthals changed the ecosystem by turning forests into grasslands 125,000 years ago. Around 125,000 years ago, these close...

1000-Year-Old Tomb Found in Perre Ancient City in southeast Turkey

1 July 2021

1 July 2021

A 1,000-year-old tomb was unearthed in the ancient city of Perre in Adiyaman province. Perre is one of the five...

1,800-year-old Roman remains discovered in valley of eastern Turkey

21 February 2022

21 February 2022

Roman remains dating back 1800 years have been found in a valley in eastern Turkey. Among the Roman ruins found...

Karahantepe will shed light on the mysteries of the Prehistoric period

7 October 2021

7 October 2021

Karahantepe’s ancient site, which is home to Neolithic-era T-shaped obelisks similar to the ones in the world-famous Göbeklitepe, will reveal...

In Turkey’s Zerzevan Castle, a badge bearing the US national symbol was discovered

4 October 2021

4 October 2021

Recent investigations have led to the discovery of a badge bearing the pattern of the Great Seal of the United...

Ancient Herpes DNA Points to Oral Herpes’ Beginnings: First kisses may have helped spread cold sore virus

28 July 2022

28 July 2022

The ancient genomes of the herpes virus, which commonly causes lip sores and currently infects about 3.7 billion people worldwide,...

Archaeologists Unearthed Third Greatest Fire Temple Existing in Ancient Iran’s Sassanid Era

11 July 2022

11 July 2022

Archaeologists have unearthed ruins of what they believe to be the third-greatest fire temple in ancient Iran during the Sassanid...

The latest discovery at the villa Civita Giuliana, north of Pompeii, the remains of a slave room

7 November 2021

7 November 2021

Ella IDE Pompeii archaeologists announced Saturday the discovery of the remnants of a “slave room” in an exceedingly unusual find...

A Roman bridge from the Republican era was discovered on Via Tiburtina

27 February 2022

27 February 2022

The remains of a rare Republican-era bridge have been discovered on the 12th kilometer of the Via Tiburtina, the ancient...

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a stone circle in the Castilly Henge, located in Cornwall, England

20 May 2022

20 May 2022

Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious stone circle at the center of a prehistoric ritual site near Bodmin in Cornwall, located...

The history of Kültepe Mound in central Turkey goes back another 300 years

12 December 2021

12 December 2021

In Kültepe, where the first written documents of Anatolia were unearthed, the date based on 5 thousand years was updated...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *