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27 March 2001
Stone Circle in Yemen

Archaeologists stumbled upon remarkable remnants of a lost Bronze Age civilization near Yemen's Red Sea coast. A Stonehenge-like enclosure of granite and basalt monoliths, each more than 3 meters (10 feet) tall and weighing seven tons, is all that remains. But it suggests a complex, well-organized culture that thrived roughly 4,000 years ago.
      The huge stones are arranged in a pattern strikingly similar to that of the Neolithic site of Stonehenge in England. Archaeologists believe the stone used to make the pillars originated in the Surat Mountains about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the site and was probably floated on rafts across the Red Sea.
      Beneath one of the splintered monoliths, the remains of a male skeleton were found among several layers of charred earth,possibly signifying some sort of commemoration. Also recovered were the skeletons of three children, each found beneath a basalt pillar.
      "Sometime around 2000 BCE, this early Bronze Age 'Stonehenge' culture disappeared suddenly without a trace," said Edward Keall of the Near Eastern and Asian Studies Department at the Royal Ontario Museum. But understanding the culture that built this monument should shed new light on "other unknown civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula, who set up similar stones and pillars throughout the region."

Source: Discovering Archaeology (8 February 2001)

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