University of Western Australia archaeologists have discovered ‘funerary avenues’ built by the people who lived in north-west Arabia in the Early to Middle Bronze Age. ‘Funerary avenues’ is long-distance corridors which linked oases and pastures. It was bordered by thousands of elaborate burial monuments. The finding of the research has been published in the journal The Holocene.
The team of scientists worked under the Royal Commission for AlUla. They have used satellite imagery, helicopter-based aerial photography and ground survey to analyse the funerary avenues.
Scientists located avenues over an area of 160,000 square km. It was more than 17,800 tailed ‘pendant’ tombs in their primary study areas of Khaybar counties in Saudi Arabia. It was around 11,000 formed parts of funerary avenues.
Scientists found the highest concentrations of funerary monuments on these avenues. The avenues were located near permanent water sources. They direct that the populations used them to travel between major oases. These included Khaybar, AlUla and Tayma.
These avenues fade into the landscapes surrounding oases. These suggests the routes were also used to move herds of domestic animals into nearby pastures in the time of rain.