The hundreds of stone monuments scattered across northwestern Saudi Arabia may represent the oldest known ritual site on Earth.
Researchers studying mustaches, courtyards made of sandstone blocks, dated them to about 7,000 years ago, making them thousands of years older than Stonehenge or the pyramids of Giza.
By surveying the area with the helicopter, the team found more than 1,000 drinkers, more than double previous estimates.
The theory is that the structures were used during rituals by members of the cattle cult, who sacrificed cows, goats, and sheep to their unknown deity.
A group of three mustaches photographed from a helicopter. Rooms range in size from approximately 65 feet to 2000 feet
Mustaches, named after the rectangle, received little attention when they were first discovered in the 1970s.
Mysterious structures were recently discovered by archaeologists at the University of Western Australia in Perth, flying by helicopter over 77,000 square miles of Al-Ula and Al-Khaybar.
They found more than 1,000 drinkers – more than double what was previously thought.
The structures range in length from 65 feet to nearly 2,000 feet, with some sandstone boulders used to make them weigh a ton.
Archaeologists have discovered more than 1,000 rectangular chambers, known as mustaches, across northwestern Saudi Arabia
Typically, the statues had tall walls made of blocks of sandstone around a central courtyard, with an entrance at one end and a platform of rubble, or “head,” at the other end. May also include a standing stone in a central room (above)
Typically, sandwiches had long walls around a central courtyard, with an entrance at one end and a rubble platform, or “head,” at the other end.
It may also include an orthostat, or standing stone, in a center room.
Some of the entrances were closed by rubble, indicating that the structures had been decommissioned at some point.
Mustatils were usually grouped in groups of 2 to 20, and given their huge size, large groups of people had to work together to build them.
Mostlats were usually grouped into groups of 2 to 20, and given their huge size, large groups of people had to work together to build them.
Previous studies speculated that the structures were used as livestock pens, but the mustache walls were too low to surround the animals.
In a report published this week in the journal Antiquity, researchers say they believe exotic squares were used for religious rituals.
It’s not designed to hold anything back, lead author Hugh Thomas told New Scientist, but to define a space that is clearly an area in need of isolation.
Fragments of cows, sheep, goats, deer horns and skulls found in a Mustatel indicate that the community that built it used animal sacrifices in their rituals.
Many of the original features have survived, even after the elements have endured for thousands of years
Researchers say the discovery of horns and bones of cow, sheep and goats at the sites is evidence of a cattle cult.
The structures were located in Al-Ula and Khyber in northwestern Saudi Arabia, about 600 miles from Riyadh
Recent excavations have revealed “the earliest evidence of a cattle worship in the Arabian Peninsula,” the team report said. “As such, mustatils are among the oldest stone monuments in the Arabian Peninsula and is one of the oldest archaeological building traditions identified so far.”
The team wrote that there may have been a procession involved in the rituals, with the narrow entrances of the mustaches indicating that the structures were accessed in a single file.
Common features include a) an inner niche located in a rectangular head, b) a closed entrance at the base, CD) permanent cells and panels, and e) a stone pillar made of stacked rock
Radiocarbon dating dating animal remains to between 5300 and 5000 BC, more than 2,500 years before Stonehenge.
Aerial view of the Mostatel base with a hive, standing slab, and blocked entrances
By radiocarbon dating of the skulls, Thomas and his colleagues dated Mostatiel to between 5300 and 5000 BC, more than 2,500 years before Stonehenge and made it “ the first massive and large-scale ritual scene anywhere in the world, ” according to author Melissa Kennedy, Assistant Director of the Air Effects Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AAKSA).
The team wrote that the rock art of an era from the same time period featured “scenes of cattle herding and hunting,” which lends credence to the theory of cattle worship.
Kennedy told the Art Newspaper that the “ widespread distribution, size, and uniformity ” indicated that a common religious belief may have existed over a large portion of northwestern Arabia during the Late Neolithic period, a feature unmatched thus far anywhere. In the world.