Strange discovery of ancient burial highways in Arabia

archaeologists from the University of Western Australia made an extraordinary discovery. They found “funeral avenues” which were previously built by the peoples who lived in northwestern Arabia at that time. These paths were long distance corridors creating close links between oases and pastures surrounded by monuments.

Dr. Matthew Dalton, a teacher at UWA’s School of Humanities, is the lead author of the study whose findings were published in the journal The Holocene. He claimed that these burial avenues were the main motorway networks of this time.

This suggests that people living in the Arabian Peninsula 4,500 years ago had a close relationship.

More than 17,800 vaults unearthed

The UWA team, which works under the aegis of the royal commission for AlUla, mobilized major means to highlight these paths. The researchers used satellite images as well as aerial photographs taken by helicopter. They also carried out ground studies and excavations to find and analyze these ancient trails.

The highways have been located on a area of ​​160,000 square km, with over 17,800 graves. All these tombs were found in strategic areas where the studies were carried out near AlUla and Khaybar in Saudi Arabia. Of these 17,800 tombs, about 11,000 were part of the funerary avenues.

The archaeologists found that the highest concentrations of funerary monuments on these avenues were located near permanent water sources. Taking into account the direction of the avenues, we see that the populations used them to move between the main oases. These are those of Khaybar, AlUla and Tayma.

Around them, they perceived less important avenues which fade into the landscapes. This suggests that the roads were also used for move herds of domestic animals to nearby pastures during rainy periods.

An area with enormous archaeological potential

For Dr. Dalton, the oases, particularly Khaybar, were the densest areas in funerary monuments known in the world. In view of the diversity of the tombs which surrounded them, one can deduce that the populations had resided there for a long time. They had already started settle permanently at that time.

Project director Dr Hugh Thomas of UWA’s School of Humanities said the research crowns an extraordinary year for the project. He claimed that the articles published in 2021 helped to demonstrate certain facts. In ancient times, AlUla and Khaybar would have been particularly rich.

Dr. Hugh pointed out that the archaeological discoveries from these regions have the potential to disrupt current historical patterns. They should help to better understand the ancient history of the middle east.


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