Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study

Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study
1 / 3
Findings revealed that about 1,000 of these mustatils cover an area of 200,000 square kilometers and appear to share similarities, suggesting that they all originate from the same time period. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study
2 / 3
The structures found over more than 200,000km² suggest they were built by Neolithic peoples who shared similar religious beliefs and had a shared building tradition. (@aaksa_project)
Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study
3 / 3
Mustatils are complex monumental structures consisting of two thick ends (base and head) connected by two or more long walls to create a series of courtyards, that look like big rectangles. (@aaksa_project)
Short Url
Updated 02 May 2021

Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study

Saudi Arabia’s ancient human ‘mustatil’ structures revealed in new study
  • Newly found rock buildings in northwest of Saudi Arabia believed to be among earliest stone monuments in history

JEDDAH: More than 1,000 prehistoric stone structures have been revealed as part of an archaeological discovery in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The structures are believed to be among the earliest stone monuments constructed by humans in the world.
Based on findings published by Cambridge University Press on April 30, experts revealed that the neolithic rectilinear structures could date back more than 7,000 years.
A team of archaeologists from the University of Western Australia led by Dr. Hugh Thomas has conducted aerial archaeology surveys and targeted excavations across the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, predominantly focusing on the AlUla and Khaybar provinces.
Research was completed as part of a program by the Royal Commission of AlUla’s (RCU) Aerial Archeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia AlUla project (AAKSAU).
The structures, named mustatils — the plural form of the Arabic term for rectangles — consist of two thick-walled ends, connected by two or more long walls to create a series of giant rectangle courtyards, ranging in length from 20 meters to more than half a kilometer.
The base of the mustatils feature circular or semi-circular cells constructed outside the main entrances.
Findings revealed that about 1,000 of these mustatils cover an area of 200,000 square kilometers and appear to share similarities, suggesting that they all originate from the same time period. The largest of the structures is located near the Khaybar lava field and measures 525 meters in length.
A number of aerial surveys have also been conducted, while structures first discovered in the 1970s have been studied.

FASTFACT

The structures, named mustatils — the plural form of the Arabic term for rectangles — consist of two thick-walled ends, connected by two or more long walls to create a series of giant rectangle courtyards, ranging in length from 20 meters to more than half a kilometer. The base of the mustatils feature circular or semi-circular cells constructed outside the main entrances.

Several mysterious “gates” that were analyzed are believed to have functioned as elements of procession for ritual sacrifices, as remains of animals including cattle, sheep and gazelle were recovered. No human remains or domestic occupation were discovered in the excavation process, but further digging will take place.
The new findings differ from similar rock structures in the area known as “kites,” which are constructions resembling polygons, funnels and triangles that date back to about the same time as the mustatils. Researchers believe they were used as traps for herding animals, while other theorists say they could have been used as burial grounds or tombs.
In 2018, the RCU commissioned the AAKSAU, a broad ranging archaeological study of AlUla province, as part of the Indentation and Documentation of the Immovable Heritage Assets of AlUla program. Another program focused on Harrat Khaybar was also established in 2019 by the RCU.

 


Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 942 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 942 new cases
Updated 34 min 23 sec ago

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 942 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 942 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,064 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 334

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 13 new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,072.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 942 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 426,384 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,572 remain active and 1,336 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 334, followed by Makkah with 286, the Eastern Province with 112, Asir recorded 50 and Madinah confirmed 40 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,064 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 409,740.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs said on Sunday it has prepared 3,156 mosques and chapels in the Makkah region to hold Eid Al-Fitr prayer this year, which will be held 15 minutes after sunrise.
It also announced it has completed preparing and equipping 1,074 in Madinah and its affiliated governorates for the Eid prayer.
The Ministry of Interior said 25,672 violations were committed against precautionary coronavirus measures in the Kingdom from May 2 — 8, with the capital, Riyadh, recording the highest with 8,909 violations, followed by Makkah with 4,556, and the Eastern Province with 3,805 violations.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 158 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.29 million.


Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan performs Umrah at Grand Mosque in Makkah

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan performs Umrah at Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan performs Umrah at Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 50 min 11 sec ago

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan performs Umrah at Grand Mosque in Makkah

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan performs Umrah at Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
  • Khan also visited and prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah
  • Khan arrived in the Kingdom on Friday on a two-day official visit

JEDDAH: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the Umrah pilgrimage in Makkah on Sunday.
Upon his arrival at the Grand Mosque, Khan was received by a number of officials of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and the special force for the security of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Khan arrived in the Kingdom on Friday on a two-day official visit at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Earlier on Sunday, Khan left Madinah headed for Jeddah, after he visited the Prophet’s Mosque and performed prayers there.
He was seen off from Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah by a number of senior, civilian and military officials.


Saudi Arabia to hold Hajj pilgrimage under certain COVID-19 health precautions

Saudi Arabia to hold Hajj pilgrimage under certain COVID-19 health precautions
Updated 35 min 12 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to hold Hajj pilgrimage under certain COVID-19 health precautions

Saudi Arabia to hold Hajj pilgrimage under certain COVID-19 health precautions
  • Kingdom will ensure the health and safety of pilgrims
  • Health authorities are continuing to assess conditions and take all measures to preserve human health

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Sunday it would announce operational plans for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage soon.
The ministry said the details would be determined by COVID-19 health controls and standards.
The Kingdom will ensure the health and safety of pilgrims and enable them to perform their rituals “easily and in a safe environment,” the ministry said.
The decision is “based on the Kingdom’s constant keenness to enable the guests and visitors of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah,” the statement said, adding “the Kingdom puts human health and safety first.”
The ministry said that Saudi health authorities are continuing to assess conditions and take all measures to ensure the preservation of human health.


Saudi Arabia calls on Muslims to sight Eid crescent on Tuesday

Saudi Arabia calls on Muslims to sight Eid crescent on Tuesday
Updated 09 May 2021

Saudi Arabia calls on Muslims to sight Eid crescent on Tuesday

Saudi Arabia calls on Muslims to sight Eid crescent on Tuesday
  • Supreme Court calls on all Muslims across the Kingdom to sight the crescent of the month of Shawwal

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims across the Kingdom to sight the crescent of the month of Shawwal on Tuesday evening. 

The court said if the moon is seen with the eye on Tuesday May 11, which corresponds to Ramadan 29, 1442 H, the committee will announce the end of fasting month and the start of Eid Al Fitr.

The Supreme Court called on whoever sights the crescent by naked eyes or through binoculars to report to the nearest court and register their testimony, or report to authorities in their area.


Arab coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Khamis Mushait

Arab coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Khamis Mushait
Updated 09 May 2021

Arab coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Khamis Mushait

Arab coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Khamis Mushait
  • The coalition said it is taking operational measures to deal with sources of threat to protect civilians and civilian objects
  • The coalition confirmed that the Houthis’ attempt to target civilians was a serious violation of international law

DUBAI: The Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed a Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait, state news agency SPA reported.
The coalition said it is taking operational measures to deal with sources of threat to protect civilians and civilian objects.

The coalition also confirmed that the Houthis’ attempt to target civilians was a serious violation of international law.

The Iran-backed militia has been intensifying attacks against Saudi Arabia, targeting key oil facilities and civilians amid international and Arab condemnation in support of the Kingdom’s security.