And there’s more to be found. They are stone‐built, the walls roughly made and low as with other ‘works’, but quite unlike them in form. So why did ancient people in Saudi Arabia build gates on top of volcanic fields in the remote desert? The research team of archaeologists admits with the current amount of evidence, it's hard to know for sure. These stone features were found by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an inhospitable area. As of now, researchers have more questions than answers regarding what these structures were used for, who built them, how old are they, and their meaning. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered on edge of ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia. October 24, 2017 9:33 pm, Updated on October 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm. Continue Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered on edge of ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia. In fact, in recent years researchers have found evidence for “Green Arabia” a theory that the area has swung between wet and dry periods for over a million years. However, it's hard to fully piece together the story while being thousands of miles away and relying solely on satellite imagery. Most of them were found in clusters in Harrat Khaybar, a region in west-central Saudia Arabia known for its now-extinct volcanic domes. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. The "gates" as seen from Google Earth. Google Earth discovers ancient stone gates in Saudi Arabia. The researchers aren’t sure exactly how old the structures are or what their purpose may have been. Jarus reports that the gates appear to be the oldest stone structures on the landscape, and may date as far back as 7,000 years. A researcher at The University of Western Australia has used Google Earth imagery to identify almost 400 previously undocumented stone structures known as 'Gates' in Saudi Arabia. It is said that the stone structures are dating back thousands of years. Most of them were found in clusters in Harrat Khaybar, a region in west-central Saudia Arabia known for its now-extinct volcanic domes. Satellite images have revealed mysterious, ancient stone structures in Saudi Arabian lava fields. “They don't look like structures where people would have lived nor do they look like animal traps or for disposing of dead bodies,” he says. “There are many other features that have only recently been understood as forming classes of prehistoric ‘geoglyphs’ that were widespread in an area thought to be very barren and devoid of human impact,” Stephan Kempe, a retired professor of physical geology at Technische Universität Darmstadt, tells St. Fleur. The stone structures, nicknamed "gates" due to their resemblance of field gates from satellite images, are clustered around the volcanic region of Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation With Forbes Insights. Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 mysterious stone structures have been discovered, dating back thousands of years ago. He has published other work about what he has seen on Google Earth over Saudi Arabia, including one on sites near Jeddah. Lava fields of Saudi Arabia in satellite imagery. HUNDREDS of stone structures discovered on a lava dome in Saudi Arabia hold an ancient bloody secret, experts believe. The "gate" at bottom right is about 1200 feet long. Scientists have discovered a few hundreds of the stone structures in a remote part of Saudi Arabia. Let's connect @trevornace, © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. “We would have loved to fly across into Saudi Arabia to take images. The gates are found in groups and are largely located in the Harrat Khaybar, a lava field in Saudi Arabia. There was a "Red Stone", in the Kaaba of the South Arabian city of Ghaiman; and the "White Stone" in the Kaaba of al-Abalat (near modern-day Tabala ). In 1997, he began aerial surveys of lava fields in Jordan, documenting stone structures including kites, which were a type of animal trap, funeral monuments and wheels of an unknown purpose. David Kennedy finds 400 'gates' in west of country using Google Earth Imoti contends that there were numerous such Kaaba sanctuaries in Arabia at one time, but this was the only one built of stone. An aerial view of mysterious "gates" in Saudi Arabia, which David Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, has been cataloging for a decade. Once again, he and his colleagues made the trek to the remote place. Kennedy invites armchair adventurers to help identify more objects by scouring the area on Google Earth for themselves. This find, along with 2,000 tombs found by Kennedy in 2011, is shedding new light on human habitation in the Arabian deserts. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/science/saudi-arabia-gates-google-earth.html With the help of Google Earth, researchers examining the deserts of Saudi Arabia have found around 400 unreported stone structures in the Arabian Desert, likely built by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago. It is said that the stone structures are dating back thousands of … This time, they sent their photos to professional archaeologists like Kennedy for some insight. Terms of Use LiveScience has reported that archaeologists, using mainly satellite images, have discovered nearly 400 of the ancient stone “gates” in what used to be an active volcano field in Saudi Arabia. At that time, he and his colleagues found three-foot-high stone walls among Harrat Khaybar’s lava domes, but it wasn’t until 2008, when Al-Saeed looked at the area with Google Earth that he realized the extent of the stone structures, St. Fleur reports. The research appears in the November issue of Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy. In the past decade, Google Earth also has helped identify thousands of burial sites and other “works of the old men,” as they’re called, scattered across Saudi Arabia. Although similar structures have been studied in nearby Jordan, Saudi Arabia has traditionally been hesitant to allow planes to fly in its airspace. You may opt-out by. I am, I am a geologist passionate about sharing Earth's intricacies with you. Satellite images have revealed mysterious, ancient stone structures in Saudi Arabian lava fields. On top of these fields are roughly built and low stone walls, suggesting they weren't used to retain cattle. PTC NEWS. “As in the much better explored lava field of Jordan there are many thousands of stone-built structures which are collectively known to Bedouin as the ‘works of the old men’.”. David Kennedy finds 400 'gates' in west of country using Google Earth It’s possible that in the past the area wasn’t quite as inhospitable as it is today. In addition, they may find more examples of what these strange people were like in this remote region of Saudi Arabia. Made of low stone walls that are sometimes built in a rectangular shape the purpose and exact date of the gates are unknown although researchers believe that they date back thousands of years. The stone structures, nicknamed "gates" due to their resemblance of field gates from satellite images, are clustered around the volcanic region of Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia. Kennedy was intrigued by the pictures. The research appears in the November issue of, search engine's satellite program. “You can’t see them very well from the ground level, but once you get up a few hundred feet, or with a satellite even higher, they stand out beautifully.”. Scientists have discovered about 400 previously undocumented stone structures known as ‘Gates’ in Saudi Arabia with the help of Google Earth imagery. 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Many of the stone structures include multiple walls which form … Now, archaeologists have uncovered nearly 400 previously undocumented stone structures they call “gates” in the Arabian desert that they believe may have been built by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago. He's found many structures since, but the gates, he says, are unique. A scientist using Google Earth has stumbled upon hundreds of ancient stone structures in Saudi Arabia. We also know that the stones were built during active volcanism and that some of the walls are covered in newer flows, meaning the wall predates some of the volcanic flows. 400 ancient stone structures scattered across a volcanic field in Saudi Arabia are currently baffling archaeologists. Melbourne, Oct 24 (PTI) Scientists have discovered about 400 previously undocumented stone structures known as 'Gates' in Saudi Arabia with the help of Google Earth imagery. As Owen Jarus at Live Science reports, the structures are called “gates” since, from an aerial view at least, they share a likeness with field gates. The researchers aren’t sure exactly how old the structures are or what their purpose may have been. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the saying goes. The imagery shows the gates to be of various sizes (ranging from 43 feet (13 meters) to 1,699 feet (518 meters) in length). Created from low walls of piled volcanic rock, they criss-cross the volcanic fields known as harrat in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan. A researcher at The University of Western Australia has used Google Earth imagery to identify almost 400 previously undocumented stone structures known as ‘Gates’ in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of Mysterious Stone ‘Gates’ Found in Saudi Arabia’s Desert - The New York Times; Share or comment on this article: Aerial images closest ever taken of Saudi stone structures. The deserts of Saudi Arabia are forbidding and still largely uninhabited. According to a press release, he has spent almost 40 years working on archaeology in the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, he relied on the search engine's satellite program. I am the founder of Science Trends, a leading source of science news and analysis on everything from climate change to cancer research. Google Earth Reveals Hundreds of Ancient Stone 'Gates' in Saudi Arabia Home I am a geologist passionate about sharing Earth's intricacies with you. “We tend to think of Saudi Arabia as desert, but in practice there’s a huge archaeological treasure trove out there and it needs to be identified and mapped,” David Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, tells Nicholas St. Fleur at The New York Times. These stone features were found by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone “gates” in an inhospitable area. As Owen Jarus at Live Science reports, the structures are called “gates” since, from an aerial view at least, they share a likeness with field gates. “It’s a mystery as to what their purpose would have been.”. Strange elongate stone gates in Saudi Arabia. About 400 mysterious stone structures which archaeologists call "gates," based off of their loose resemblance to "old fashioned field gates," have been discovered in Saudi Arabia. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. To put this in … ‘Gates’ are one such type, found in large numbers in and around the Harret Khaybar in west‐central Saudi Arabia. The stone structures, nicknamed “gates” due to their resemblance of field gates from satellite images, are clustered around the volcanic region of Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia. 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While Saudi Arabia is largely thought of as barren mountains and desert, it was also home to … SAUDI ARABIA | King Salman Presides Over Laying Of Foundation Stone Of Diriyah Gate Posted on November 21, 2019 November 22, 2019 by Alkassandra in GLOBAL CULTURAL ICON , RIYADH'S NEW GLOBAL CULTURAL AND LIFESTYLE DESTINATION , SAUDI ARABIA'S CULTURAL AND LIFESTYLE DESTINATION , Travel , Uncategorized 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. The team will soon publish their research in the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy. By. The imagery shows the gates to be of various sizes (ranging from 43 feet (13 meters) to 1,699 feet (518 meters) in length). He noted that 55,000 tourist visas were issued by Saudi Arabia last week and the numbers will continue to grow, after the Kingdom opened up to international travelers. Hundreds of ancient stone monuments, found in parts of Saudi Arabia, could be some of the oldest in the world, a new study says. 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