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Mysterious ancient tombs reveal 4,500-year-old highway network in north-west Arabia

Baku, January 12, AZERTAC

Archaeologists, affiliated to the University of Western Australia (UWA) have determined that the people who lived in ancient north-west Arabia have built long-distance ‘funerary avenues’, major pathways flanked by thousands of burial monuments that linked oases and pastures, suggesting a high degree of social and economic connection between the region’s populations in the 3rd millennium BCE, according to SPA news agency.

Publication of the findings in The Holocene the journal caps a year of tremendous progress by the UWA team, working under the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), in shedding light on the lives of the ancient inhabitants of Arabia.

The existence of the funerary avenues suggests that complex social horizons existed 4,500 years ago across a huge swathe of the Arabian Peninsula. The finding adds to the steady progress by archaeologists working under the auspices of RCU in understanding the hidden story of the ancient kingdoms and earlier societies of north Arabia.

The UWA team’s work is part of a wider effort that includes 13 archaeological and conservation project teams from around the world collaborating with Saudi experts in AlUla and neighbouring Khaybar counties in Saudi Arabia.

Amr Al-Madani, CEO of RCU, said: “The more we learn about the ancient inhabitants of north-west Arabia, the more we are inspired by the way our mission reflects their mindset: they lived in harmony with nature, honoured their predecessors, and reached out to the wider world. The work done by our archaeological teams in 2021 demonstrates that Saudi Arabia is a home for top-flight science – and we look forward to hosting more research teams in 2022.”

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