In Saudi Arabia, archaeologists have discovered a 4,500-year-old highway network full of well-preserved ancient tombs. The discovery was made after University of Western Australia researchers carried out a large-scale investigation last year. Holocene journal published the research findings in December.
The excavation was conducted, ground surveys were completed, aerial surveys were conducted with helicopters, and satellite imagery was examined. ‘The people, who live in these areas, have known about them for thousands of years. But I think it wasn’t really known until we got satellite imagery that just how widespread they are,’ researcher Matthew Dalton told CNN.
Pendants or rings form the shape of these tombs. Pendant tombs have a ‘beautiful tail’, while ring tombs have a cairn enclosed by a wall up to two meters tall. The researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine that a concentrated group of samples dated back between 2600 BC and 2000 BC. The team observed approximately 18,000 tombs along the funerary avenues.
‘These tombs are 4,500 years old, and they’re still standing to their original height, which is really unheard of. So, I think that’s what particularly marks Saudi Arabia out from the rest of the region — just the level of preservation is unbelievable,’ researcher Melissa Kennedy.