September 17, 2011
Middle East Version of Nazca Lines Investigated
By using satellite technology, researchers have discovered that there are thousands of ancient geoglyphs in the Middle East, but the purpose of these patterns remains a mystery, according to recent LiveScience and Daily Mail reports.The drawings, which are similar to the legendary Nazca Lines of Peru, "stretch from Syria to Saudi Arabia, can be seen from the air but not the ground, and are virtually unknown to the public," Owen Jarus of LiveScience wrote in an article, published Friday on FoxNews.com.
These geoglyphs are the subject of a new study by David Kennedy, a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Western Australia. Kennedy, whose findings are scheduled for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science, claims that these wheel-like structures make up part of a number of different stone landscapes.
Those structures include "kites (stone structures used for funneling and killing animals); pendants (lines of stone cairns that run from burials); and walls, mysterious structures that meander across the landscape for up to several hundred feet and have no apparent practical use," according to Jarus.
On Thursday, Ted Thornhill of the Daily Mail adds that the structures are thought to date back some 2,000 years, and that a tribe of nomads located in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Egypt and Israel refer to them as the "works of the old men."
"In Jordan alone we've got stone-built structures that are far more numerous than (the) Nazca Lines, far more extensive in the area that they cover, and far older," Kennedy told LiveScience, adding that he and his colleagues have studied the structures using aerial photography and Google Earth.
"Sometimes when you're actually there on the site you can make out something of a pattern but not very easily," he added. "Whereas if you go up just a hundred feet or so it, for me, comes sharply into focus what the shape is“¦ People have probably walked over them, walked past them, for centuries, millennia, without having any clear idea what the shape was."
Jarus concludes that none of the wheels had been excavated as of yet, making it "difficult" to clearly discern their individual purposes. He reports that archaeologists previously believed that they might be the remnants of homes or cemeteries, but Kennedy believes that this is most likely not the case.
On the Net: