A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
New Thoughts on Neolithic Saudi Arabia
Monday, March 20, 2023
PERTH, AUSTRALIA—According to a statement released by the Public Library of Science, Melissa Kennedy of the University of Western Australia and her colleagues have excavated a mustatil, one of 1,600 low-walled Neolithic structures found in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Within this 450-foot-long rectangle, the researchers found some 260 fragments of animal skulls and horns from domestic cattle and goats, gazelle, and small ruminants, in addition to the remains of an adult man. Most of the animal remains were found around a single, large upright stone. Recent investigation of mustatils in the nearby city of AlUla suggests that ritualistic offerings of animals were placed in such stone structures. Kennedy and her team members also found that the offerings were left in several phases, perhaps over repeated pilgrimages to the site. She thinks that the beliefs and economic systems of Neolithic people who lived in the region may have been more interconnected and widespread than had been previously thought. Read the original scholarly article about this research in PLOS ONE. To read about an aerial survey of mustatils, go to "Around the World: Saudi Arabia."
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