Saudi Arabia’s ancient ‘mustatils’ among earliest stone monuments built worldwide, study finds

Sat, 2021-05-01 12:33

RIYADH: Prehistoric rectangular stone structures discovered in northwestern Saudi Arabia, known as mustatils, are now believed to be older than previously thought – pre dating the pyramids, a new research body has found. 
The huge Neolithic structures are more than 7,000 years old, Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said in a Twitter post. 

The archaeological discovery revealed that the mustatils were among the oldest monuments in the world. The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has given the discovery this name as it is the plural form of the Arabic term for rectangles. 

Though the existence of the mustatils has been previously known, the study indicates that more than 1,000 stone rectangular-shaped monuments  have been recorded by the team, almost double the amount previously identified. 

Each mustatil of the structures consists of two thick walled ends, connected by two or more long walls to create a series of giant rectangle courtyards, ranging in length from 20m to over 600m.  
The base of the mustatil has circular/semi-circular cells constructed outside its main entrance. 
The study revealed that around 1,000 of these mustatils cover an area of 200,000km² and appear to be very similar in their forms, suggesting they are all from the same time period.
The work on this discovery is part of the University of Western Australia’s work in AlUla and Khaybar provinces as part of archaeological program by RCU.

“We think of them as a monumental landscape,” said Melissa Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth and an author of the study, NBC reported her as saying. “We are talking about over 1,000 mustatils. These things are found over 200,000 square kilometers [77,000 square miles], and they’re all very similar in shape … so perhaps it’s the same ritual belief or understanding.”


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