In the 1920's, a Bedouin tribe first came across these mysterious Stone Structures in the middle of the Arabian Desert. For the last 20 years, David Kennedy, an ancient history professor at the University of Western Australia, has been studying these ruins. With the help of modern digital photography, new details have been uncovered about these 7,000-year-old gates that have been hiding in the desert of Saudi Arabia.

Works of old men

Once referred to by the Bedouins as the works of old men, these mysterious structures have puzzled researchers for decades.

No one seems to know who built them or for what purpose. However, Kennedy believes that his theory could be plausible.

According to aerial photographs, there are over 400 stone structures peppered across the Harrat Khaybar volcanic plateau. They vary in size ranging from a few meters all the way up to 500 meters. The stone structures make up many different shapes including wheels, gates, keyholes, and even kites. Researchers theorize that these gates may have once been used to trap animals. It is also plausible that they may have been used for funerary purposes.

Across the Middle East

The most important fact for researchers is that these mysterious structures are not only found in one place. They have been built throughout the Jordanian Panhandle, spread across the southern Syrian border, and even make their way down the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Kennedy hopes to be part of a Riyadh-based research team consisting of archaeologists, academics, and travelers to hopefully discover more about these mysterious structures. The question that seems to have everyone reeling is who built them and why?

Aerial photography

For three days, Kennedy flew over the desert in Saudi Arabia snapping over 6,000 images.

Spending 15 hours in the air, Kennedy was able to capture great details of the gates, keyholes, wheels, and kites. He has also found that Google Earth will be an essential tool in his research in the coming months.

By utilizing the features of Google Earth, Kennedy and the research team were able to drop pins on the locations of most of these structures.

This will make it very easy to go back and find them again. Kennedy's aerial survey is the first to have ever been performed in Saudi Arabia. The Harrat Khaybar volcanic plateau is vast and stretches over 10,000 square miles of land. Researchers now hope to make great strides in the archaeological mapping of Saudi Arabia.