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Discovering the prehistoric monuments of Arabia


In contrast to the prehistoric remains of the Near East, the megalithic monuments of Arabia remain largely unknown. These monumental structures, made of dry stone walls, still hold many secrets in terms of their construction, function and chronology.

Discovering the prehistoric monuments of Arabia
The platform during excavation [Credit: © MADAJ]
An international collaboration of scientists from France, Saudi Arabia and Italy, led by Olivia Munoz, a researcher at the CNRS, have discovered a 35-metre long triangular platform in the oasis of Dumat al-Jandal (northern Saudi Arabia).



Built in several phases from the 6th millennium BC, this exceptional monument was probably dedicated to ritual practices, some of which were probably funerary and commemorative.

Discovering the prehistoric monuments of Arabia
Aerial view of the platform [Credit: © MADAJ, Marianne Cotty,
 Olivia Munoz & Ronald Schwerdtner]
To arrive at these conclusions, scientists studied and dated the objects and human remains from deposits found in and around the platform — in the two side niches and also in nearby tombs.

These discoveries, which are published in the journal Antiquity, demonstrate a ritual use during Prehistory, and are a potentially symbolic imprint left by nomadic pastoralists in the landscape during this remote period.

Source: CNRS [June 08, 2020]

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