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RIYAD: The Royal Commission for AlUla, in partnership with the University of Western Australia, revealed that people who lived in the ancient northwest of the Arabian Peninsula built long ‘funeral avenues’ surrounded by thousands of monuments funerals during the third millennium BCE.

The publication of the findings in “The Holocene” is the culmination of a year of tremendous progress made by the UWA team, working under RCU, to shed light on the lives of the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula.

The passages, connecting oases and pastures, reflect a high degree of socio-economic interdependence among the population of the region, indicating the existence of a sophisticated social network 4,500 years ago that stretched across the peninsula.

The find joins the constant progress of archaeologists working in partnership with RCU to understand the mysteries of human existence and the societies that lived in the region.


The discovery joins the constant progress of archaeologists in understanding the mysteries of human existence and the societies that lived in the region.

The work of the UWAs team is part of a larger effort by 13 specialist teams with members from around the world working in the archeology and conservation project in cooperation with Saudi experts in AlUla and Khaybar.

RCU CEO Amr Al-Madani said: “The more we learn about the ancient inhabitants of northwest Arabia, the more we are inspired by how our mission reflects their state of mind.

A hanging burial from the 3rd millennium BC. AD at the southern edge of the Khaybar oasis, northwest of Saudi Arabia. (Provided)

“They lived in harmony with nature, honored their predecessors and extended to the whole world. The work done by our archaeological teams in 2021 demonstrates that Saudi Arabia is a hotbed for high-level science – and we look forward to welcoming more research teams in 2022, ”he added.

URC Director of Archeology and Cultural Heritage Research Dr Rebecca Foote said: See how data analyzes elucidate so many aspects of Neolithic to Bronze Age life in northwest Arabia.

“These articles are only the beginning of many publications which will advance our knowledge from prehistory to modern times and will have important implications for the region at large,” she continued.

A hanging burial from the 3rd millennium BC. AD at the southern edge of the Khaybar oasis, northwest of Saudi Arabia. (Provided)

Researcher and historian Dr Eid Al-Yahya said that Khaybar’s tombs, known as Harat Al-Nar (Fiery Field), along with others, are considered diverse urban models. “There are over 100 patterns and each has a distinctive architectural form. All of the graves contain humans buried in a crouching or “fetus” position. We have been able to identify more than a million graves with the help of Google and thanks to a specialized scientific team.

Regarding the timing of this time, Dr Al-Yahya said: “These graves were made when the Arabian Peninsula was very fertile and looked like the forests of the savannah. They symbolize constructions made by people who lived in prosperity, who did not live in an arid desert, preventing them from building a burial place with complex and precise engineering methods.

He noted that the huge tombs pointed skyward and have become an important symbol for the Mesopotamian and Nile civilizations, pointing out that they are the civilization of peoples who have an ancient visual and celestial dimension.

He explained that, according to research by the German Max Planck Institute, the last decades of the Savannah Era in the Arabian Peninsula date back 6500 years. When the Arabian Peninsula became a desert, its inhabitants moved to land bordered by rivers and also passed on their culture, including the cuneiform script, which can be found on most tombs.

Al-Yahya said a large part of these ancient tombs were exposed to excavations in ancient times, unlike the Nile tombs, which were notorious for hiding the tombs of kings underground so that they would not be seen. .

Cuneiform tombs were visible and built above the mountains where furniture and weapons were buried with the deceased as well as some of their belongings.

He pointed out that what the URC had achieved in collaboration with the UWA proved that the tombs were among the oldest types of architecture in the world, older than the pyramids dating back over 8,000 years.

Al-Yahya estimated that some of these tombs could date back to the Middle Stone Age, and that they could find tombs dating back even further.