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Excavation unearths burial avenues of ancient civilisations in Arabia

Excavation unearths burial avenues of ancient civilisations in Arabia

Riyadh: Archaeologists have found that civilisations who lived in the ancient northwest of the Arabian Peninsula constructed patterns of burial avenues and built thousands of burial monuments around them during BC 3000s. The findings of the University of Western Australia (UWA) operating under the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), Saudi, was published in The Holocene, Arab News reported.

Historian Dr Eid Al-Yahya says that graves in Khaybar, named Harat Al-Nar, among others, were built in more than 100 patterns, each with a unique architectural shape. They found over a million graves where bodies were placed in the 'fetus position'. Researchers had the assistance of Google and professional-scientific teams in finding the graves, he said.

He further said that the graves were made when Arabian Peninsula was fertile and similar to savannah forests. The sophisticated architecture and engineering methods used in the burial sites indicate that those people lived in prosperity and not in a barren desert.

He said that huge graves were pointing towards the sky, an important symbol of Mesopotamian and Nile civilisations, underlining that the people had an ancient visual and celestial dimension.

The final decades of the savannah era in the Arabian Peninsula were 6,500 years ago, and after that, the area became a desert, forcing people to move to fertile, ultimately spreading their culture too. The cuneiforms found in the graves indicate so, he said.

Al-Yahya said many of the graves were exposed during excavations in ancient ages themselves in contrast to the Nile graves. Unlike Nile graves, cuneiform graves were visible and built over mountains. Furniture, weapons, etc., were also buried with the dead in cuneiform graves. He said the graves could be older than pyramids dating back to 8,000years. He added that some of them could be of the Middle stone age, and more may be found, which could even date more back.

The UWA findings inferred that the passages linking oases and pastures indicate the heavy socio-economic interdependence and an advanced social network among the inhabitants in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula more than 4,500 years ago.

Dr Rebecca Foote, Director of archaeology at RCU, said that the research from many projects conducted in AlUla and Khaybar for the last three years had found many aspects of life from the Neolithic up to the Bronze Age in northwest Arabia.

CEO of RCU, Amr Al-Madani, said that the people in the region lived in harmony with nature, respected their ancestors and extended their hands to the outer world.

The UWA work is a part of a big initiative of 13 specialised teams with experts across the globe. These teams work under the Archeology and Conservation Project with the cooperation of Saudi researchers in AlUla and Khaybar.

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