History, unburied

From the NY Post: Mysterious ancient civilization left signs across vast desert

[A]n international team of experts currently surveying the area [in Saudi Arabia] has found thousands of archaeological sites that feature everything from mysterious triangular constructions to ancient tombs….Cliffs dotted across the landscape feature ancient petroglyphs of people and animals that are thought to be thousands of years old. One of the most important sites is the Mada’in Salih – which features 111 ancient tombs that are carved into rock that are so impressive they are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I guess people have known about this for a while, if some of the tombs are registered with UNESCO. But I hadn’t heard of this area. Click through if you would like to check out the brief article and the pictures.

This linked article from CNN has a lot more, and more pictures too. Very much worth a look.

The most commonly found structures in Al-Ula are cairns — piles of stones that mark graves, sometimes surrounded by low circular or square drystone walls — which are older than anyone expected.

“We don’t have verified dates yet, but it looks as if some may date to at least 4,000 BC,” says Foote, adding that some may even stretch back to the Neolithic period (10,000 to 4,500 BC). “It’s very exciting because it shows that the history of occupation of the area goes back much further than was known.”

Archaeologists are using drones to survey vast areas from the air, thus finding sites on which to focus their attention. Very cool.

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