Nearly 400 mysterious stone structures have been recently found on ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia. The discovery was made by archaeologist David Kennedy with the help of Google Earth.
The structures, which were detected in clusters in the Harrat Khaybar volcanic region of west-central Saudi Arabia, are reportedly being referred to as "gates" because this is how they look from above.
"I refer to them as Gates because when you see them from above they look like a simple field gate lying flat, two upright posts on the sides, connected by one or more long bars," Kennedy said. "They don't seem like structures where people would have lived or for disposing of dead bodies nor do they look like animal traps. It's a mystery as to what their purpose would have been," he added.
Mysterious Stone Structures
The team of archaeologists involved with the discovery is not sure of the purpose or the age of the gates, according to a report. However, it has been estimated that the stone walls date back to thousands of years and seem to be the oldest manmade structures in the landscape.
The longest of the gates extends about 518 meters, making them longer than NFL football fields, whereas the smallest of them are only about 13 meters in length. The gates have been found to have multiple stone walls in a rectangular design as well as with a single stone wall in an "I" formation — with heaps of stones at each side.
The Works Of Old Men
The research team thinks that the edifices were built around 2,000 to 9,000 years ago, though not much is known about the people who constructed them. However, Kennedy believes that those men were the ancestors of modern-day Bedouins, and the latter refers to the gates as 'The Works of Old Men.'
Incidentally, Kennedy has been taking aerial photos of similar stone-structures spread around Jordan and the Middle East since 1997. The shapes of the structures have been found to include wheels whose purpose is also unknown at the moment, pendants that were used as funerary monuments and kites that basically indicate animal traps.
According to Kennedy, though the general perception of Saudi Arabia is largely that of deserts and barren mountains, it is also home to numerous unidentified archaeological sites. Furthermore, though the professor has been working on the archaeology of Arabia for the past four decades, he was still baffled when he saw the gates site as it was unlike anything he had seen before.
Kennedy's study will be published during November in the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.