The giant stone structures form wheel shapes with spokes often radiating inside. Here a cluster of wheels in the Azraq Oasis. CREDIT: David D. Boyer
They stretch from Syria to Saudi Arabia, can be seen from the air but not the ground, and are virtually unknown to the public.
They are the Middle East's own version of the Nazca Lines — ancient "geolyphs," or drawings, that span deserts in southern Peru — and now, thanks to new satellite-mapping technologies, and an aerial photography program in Jordan, researchers are discovering more of them than ever before. They number well into the thousands.
Referred to by archaeologists as "wheels," these stone structures have a wide variety of designs, with a common one being a circle with spokes radiating inside. Researchers believe that they date back to antiquity, at least 2,000 years ago. They are often found on lava fields and range from 82 feet to 230 feet (25 meters to 70 meters) across.
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