Mysterious 7,000-year-old stone structures may be part of prehistoric cattle cult

 

By Owen Jarus, Live Science

Apr 30, 2021

 

Sprawling rectangular structures scattered across northwest Arabia and dating back more than 7,000 years may have been part of a prehistoric cattle cult, researchers have found.

 

More than 1,000 of the mysterious structures, referred to as mustatils (an Arabic word meaning "rectangle"), have been documented in Saudi Arabia. While their appearance varies, they are usually rectangular in shape and often consisting of two platforms connected by two walls. Archaeological work indicates that some of the mustatils had a chamber in the center made of stone walls surrounding an open area with a standing stone in the center.

 

The new research reinforces a theory proposed by other researchers that the mustatils had a ritualistic purpose and, in addition, provides evidence that they were part of a cattle cult.

 

"The mustatils of northwest Arabia represents the first large-scale, monumental ritual landscape anywhere in the world, predating Stonehenge by more than 2,500 years," Melissa Kennedy, assistant director of the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia project (AAKSA), said in a statement.

 

"These structures can now be interpreted as ritual installations dating back to the late sixth millennium B.C., with recent excavations revealing the earliest evidence for [a] cattle cult in the Arabian Peninsula," a team of researchers wrote in a paper published April 30 in the journal Antiquity... 

 

Arabia excavations ...

 

Environmental clues ...

 

More mysteries ...

 

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