Ancient 'Gates' Found in Saudi Arabia

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October 22, 2017

Archaeologists have discovered in Saudi Arabia a few hundred stone structures that are very, very old.

Found in Harrat Khaybar, a volcanic region in the west-central part of the country, the gates and walls are manmade and could date back thousands of years. Archaeologists are still not sure how old the stone strucutres are. They made the discovery primarily examining satellite imagery.

The longest gate is 1,699 feet in length; the shortest is 43 feet in length. The gates rest in clusters; the spacing between gates varies. Also found nearby are other wheel-shaped structures and "kites," which were used to hunt animals. Archaeologists believe that other "kites" found in the Middle East date back 9,000 years, to the Neolithic Age.

Some of the stone structures are in and around inactive lava domes; some gates bear traces of lava. Fieldwork, including efforts to provide a definitive date of construction, is the next step, archaeologists said. David Kennedy of the University of Oxford is the leader of the team.

Harrat Khaybar is a largely volcanic area in the Hejaz, a larger area in the west part of the country that includes the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

More details of the find will appear in a report in an upcoming issue of Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.

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