Huge Geometric Shapes in Middle East May Be Prehistoric

Posted by on October 6, 2017 in Mysteries, Reality's Edge with 8 Comments


By Owen Jarus | Live Science

Thousands of stone structures that form geometric patterns in the Middle East are coming into clearer view, with archaeologists finding two wheel-shaped patterns date back some 8,500 years. That makes these “wheels” older than the famous geoglyphs in Peru called Nazca Lines.

Related Article: New Nazca Lines Geoglyphs Uncovered By Gales and Sandstorms In Peru

And some of these giant designs located in Jordan's Azraq Oasis seem to have an astronomical significance, built to align with the sunrise on the winter solstice.

Those are just some of the findings of new research on these Middle East lines, which were first encountered by pilots during World War I. RAF Flight Lt. Percy Maitland published an account of them in 1927 in the journal Antiquity, reporting that the Bedouin called the structures “works of the old men,” a name still sometimes used by modern-day researchers.  [See Photos of the ‘Nazca Lines' in the Middle East]

The “works of the old men” include wheels, which often have spokes radiating out from the center, kites (stone structures used for funnelling and killing animals), pendants (lines of stone cairns) and meandering walls, which are mysterious structures that meander across the landscape for up to several hundred feet.

The works “demonstrate specific geometric patterns and extend from a few tens of meters up to several kilometers, evoking parallels to the well-known system of geometric lines of Nazca, Peru,” wrote an archaeological team in a paper published recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science. (Peru's Nazca Lines date to between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500.)

They “occur throughout the entire Arabia region, from Syria across Jordan and Saudi Arabia to Yemen,” wrote the researchers. “The most startling thing about the ‘Works' is that they are difficult to identify from the ground. This stands in contrast to their apparent visibility from the air.”

Related Article: Mysterious Nazca Line Geoglyphs Formed Ancient Pilgrimage Route

New research on the Middle East lines was published recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science and the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.  Live Science also got an advance copy of an article set to be published in the journal Antiquity.

Prehistoric date

Tests indicate that some of the wheels date back around 8,500 years, a prehistoric time when the climate was wetter in parts of the Middle East.

Using a technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), archaeologists dated two wheels at Wadi Wisad, in the Black Desert of Jordan. One wheel dated back 8,500 years, while the other wheel had a mix of dates that suggest it was built about 8,500 years and was remodeled or repaired around 5,500 years ago. [See Aerial Photos of the Giant Wheels]

At the time these wheels were built, the climate in the Black Desert was more hospitable, and Wadi Wisad was inhabited. “Charcoal from deciduous oak and tamarisk [a shrub] were recovered from two hearths in one building dated to ca. 6,500 B.C.,” wrote researchers in a forthcoming issue of Antiquity.

Solar alignments?

Spatial analysis of the wheels showed that one cluster of wheels, located in the Azraq Oasis, has spokes with a southeast-northwest orientation that may align with sunrise during the winter solstice.

“The majority of the spokes of the wheels in that cluster are oriented for some reason to stretch in a SE-NW direction,” researchers wrote in the Journal of Archaeological Science. This points to “where the sun rises during the winter solstice.”

Whether this alignment was intentional is unknown, researchers wrote in the journal article. “As for the rest of the wheels, they do not seem to contain any archaeoastronomical information.”

What were they used for?

The two dated wheels “are simple in form and not very rigidly made, according to geometric standards,” said Gary Rollefson, a professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. “They contrast sharply with some other wheels that appear to have been set out with almost as much attention to detail as the Nazca Lines.”

It's possible that different wheels may have served different uses, Rollefson said. In the case of the two dated wheels, “the presence of cairns suggests some association with burials, since that is often the way of treating people once they died.” Rollefson is careful to point out that “there are other wheels where cairns are entirely lacking, pointing to a different possible use.”

Related Article: Nazca: Decoding The Riddle Of The Lines

Rollefson is co-director of the Eastern Badia Archaeological Project. His team is hoping to excavate a few of the cairns, which are located within the wheels, in the next few years.

Visible from the sky

Why people in prehistoric times would build wheel-shaped structures that can't be seen well from the ground remains a mystery. No balloon or glider technologies existed at that time. Additionally, researchers say that climbing to a higher elevation to view them was probably not possible, at least not in most cases. [In Photos: Google Earth Reveals Sprawling Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan]

Though the wheels are often difficult to make out on the ground, they are not invisible. “Granted, one can't see the finished product standing at ground level, but one can still determine a general geometric configuration,” Rollefson told Live Science.

He said that to create the more precisely designed wheels, people might have used a long rope and stake.


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8 Reader Comments

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  1.' Helen Lo says:

    Lori DeSalvo!

  2.' Michael Hartigan says:

    i think they should be destroyed -obviously pagan symbols

  3.' April Roth says:

    Most symbols are pagan,so are most Christian symbols, rituals and holidays…seriously even the names of months and days
    Be proud your of your pagan roots
    ɓʆεςςεδ ɓε

  4.' Berniece Page says:

    Wow, so just destroy ancient historical sites and artifacts because they may be pagan, kind of like ISIS has been doing all over the middle east???

  5.' Patricia Beard says:

    Tell ISIS; they’ll destroy them!!!

  6.' Kenneth Murillo says:

    Bio geometry

  7.' April Roth says:

    Sure,anything pagan should be abolished so that means no more celebrating Christmas or Easter or Halloween,mayday ,st Patrick’s day,all saints day,as for symbols the whole city of Washington, D.C. Has to go since it is just crammed with pagan symbols,statue of liberty..gone
    I mean you may as well just wipe out the whole of the United States for all the pagan symbolism here….know your history people
    ɓʆεςςεδ ɓε

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