Dating the Pendant Burials of North-west Arabia: First Radiometric Results from the Khaybar Oasis, Saudi Arabia

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Abstract

The monumental stone structures of the Arabian Peninsula have been notoriously difficult to date. Due to their visibility in the landscape, they have suffered from extensive robbing and later reuse, which has compromised dating methodologies. In particular, our understanding of when the elaborate ‘pendants’ (also known as ‘tailed cairns/tower tombs’) of northwest Arabia were first constructed has remained incomplete. Recent work undertaken by the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Khaybar project provides some of the first radiometric dates for the pendants of Saudi Arabia. These structures can now be dated as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE, revealing for the first time a hitherto undocumented, large-scale, monumental funerary landscape dating to the “Early Bronze Age”. These radiocarbon dates bring the advent of the pendant building tradition in line with funerary developments across the wider Arabian Peninsula, and may mark a profound reconfiguring of the wider Harrat Khaybar landscape during the 3rd millennium BCE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-197
Number of pages15
JournalArabian Archaeology and Epigraphy
Volume32
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

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