MAKKAH: Passing through the Hail region, east of Medina, the mystery deepens over the extent of the ancient desert civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula as more and more desert kites are discovered.
Circles and stone structures, known as kites, were found primarily in the western region of the Kingdom. Aerial surveys have found it more nestled between the sands of the Grand Nafud Desert.
Believed to be Neolithic, the polygons, funnel and triangular structures are mainly concentrated near the lava fields of Harrat Khaybar to the west, some dating from the 4th and 7th centuries BC. The Hail structures are found at Qaa Al-Sibaq near the town of Shuwaimis, northwest of Hail.
Over 5,800 desert kites have been discovered in Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kazakhstan, the highest concentration being found in Syria with 2,500 kites.
The hidden treasures of the Kingdom’s vast deserts remain invisible and wait to be discovered. Desert kites are sophisticated and well-designed structures whose purpose remains a secret to this day.
Dr Salma Hawsawi, professor of ancient history at King Saud University, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is full of stone circles, kites and structures scattered across the kingdom. Many desert kites have been found in the area north of Medina (Khaybar, Fadak, AlUla). Large slabs come in different shapes: circles, triangles, ovals, raised stones, piles of stones, squares and arcs.
Hawsawi said the kites are geometric shapes that may or may not be connected to each other. They can be part of a building or be separate, or piles of stones: A group of stones on top of each other in a gradual, inconsistent size or shape.
“Some of the triangles have small, large and hollow bases, parallel and successive, opposite the top,” she said. “There are also circles with a midpoint, hollow points, irregular, flat and overlapping stones. Other shapes include circles with a square in the middle, small and large ovals, overlapping ovals with circles and squares, irregular squares, hollow and irregular rectangles, and rectangles stacked on top of each other.
Hawsawi added: “In the same context, there are points in the middle of circles or at their ends, points around buildings and around the circle and the straight line, points in zigzag or in a straight line, arcs parallel, interconnected and separate. , in addition to unclear shapes.
Archaeological studies carried out in 1976 revealed that these kites extend from the north of Wadi Sarhan to the Hail region. A year later, it was found that this area opened up to the suburb of Al-Kahifiya in the south. The spread of kites has shown the effect of the environment on the shape of the structure and the differences from area to area.
“The reason why these shapes are constructed the way the area varies depends on where they were found. They could be trade routes, landmarks to guide caravans, or placed in certain areas as a place of worship, or to mark a residential area, or a burial place, or that it was used for hunting ”, she declared.
Hawsawi pointed out that the concentration of these circles and kites around oases, water basins and settlements, in Khaybar, Fadak, AlUla, up to Hail and Makkah, indicated that they were rest for trade caravans, especially since the Silk Road was connected to the north of the Arabian Peninsula by a secondary road from Persia.
After the road leaves Samarkand, it heads towards Persia, then towards Merv, a crossroads. The route then heads to Tifson, to Hit on the Euphrates in Mesopotamia, then heads to Palmyra, then to the Mediterranean coasts extending to Europe, according to Hawsawi.
“The reason the Silk Road merchants preferred to pass through the northern Arabian Peninsula was the security that the inhabitants of the northern Arabian Peninsula afforded trade convoys and the region’s overland routes were easier,” better for transit and safer. for commercial convoys, ”said Hawsawi.
She also pointed out that the southern route started from the port of Qena in Egypt and then headed towards Shabwa, the capital of the kingdom of Hadramout, from which the route extended through the capitals of the southern kingdoms Qataban, Sheba and Main, all in today’s Yemen.
The main trade route reaches Najran, from which it splits into two sections, one north and northwest, along the Red Sea coast, passing through Tathleeth and Bisha. Then a fork in the road goes to Mecca, while the main road continues to Yathrib (Madinah), then to Dedan and Lehyan until the first century BC. The road then passes to Al-Hijr.
A US study, according to Hawsawi, found that the kites found at AlUla are older than the pyramids at Giza and the stone circles at Stonehenge in the UK, which are over 7,000 years old.
“These circles and kites reflect the extent of development achieved by ancient civilizations living on the peninsula and how deeply rooted the lands that make up Saudi Arabia are in history,” said Hawsawi.