One of the most fascinating and mysterious structures in the Middle East is quite easy to miss. In Golan Heights, the region that borders Israel, Syria, and Jordan, lies a newly discovered prehistoric monument that has existed for centuries.
One of the main reasons why the location was not found sooner was because of the pattern of stone circles which was not visible from the ground. It took several aerial surveys and subsequent excavations to reveal one of the largest structures in the region to date.
The structure is known as Rujm el-Hiri, which means "stone heap of the wild cat." The complex has around five concentric circles, the largest of them all being around 500 feet wide, with an enormous burial chamber situated in the middle.
The Hebrew name of the structure is Gilgal Refaim, or "wheel of giants." It refers to what researchers believe to be an ancient race of giants mentioned in a Bible text. Most estimate it to be around 5,000 years old, making it more modern compared to the Stonehenge located in England.
Researchers claim that the Golan Heights structure was built using small basalt rocks, which have a combined weight of over 40,000 tons. The Stonehenge in England, on the other hand, was built using 100 huge stones.
"It's an enigmatic site. We have bits of information, but not the whole picture," according to Uri Berger, an expert on megalithic tombs with the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"Scientists come and are amazed by the site and think up their own theories," he says.
At the moment, no one is certain as to who constructed this massive structure. Researchers speculate that it could have been built by a nomadic civilization, but that would have required a huge support network, something unavailable during those times.
It is the possible the structure was built to bury a powerful individual; it could also have an astrological importance scientists have yet to figure out. Whatever the case, this is an important find in the Middle East, and there might be even more to come.