A prehistoric giant stone axe, dating back 200,000 years, was discovered in northwest Arabia by an archaeological expedition. This finding, made in the desert near Al-Ula, could potentially rewrite the human history of the region. The team unearthed what appears to be the largest stone bifacial tool ever found.

Bifaces are stone tools worked on both sides to create sharp edges. The enormous bifacial tool was uncovered in the desert plain of Qurh, south of the city of Al-Ula. It measures over half a meter in length and is estimated to be 200,000 years old, placing it in the Lower and Middle Paleolithic periods.

An international team of archaeologists, working with the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, made this extraordinary discovery. Dr. Ömer Can Aksoy and Dr. Gizem Kahraman Aksoy from the heritage firm TEOS Heritage are leading the project.

The stone tool is made of fine-grained basalt, measuring 51.3 cm in length. It has been worked on both sides to create a solid tool with edges suitable for cutting or chopping.

At the moment, its function can only be speculated upon, but despite its size, the tool fits comfortably in two hands.

Dr. Aksoy, the project director, said, This bifacial tool is one of the most significant findings of our ongoing study in the Qurh plain. This astonishing stone tool measures over half a meter (length: 51.3 cm, width: 9.5 cm, thickness: 5.7 cm) and is the largest example of a series of stone tools discovered at the site. A continued search for comparisons worldwide has not found a bifacial tool of the same size. Therefore, this could be one of the largest bifaces ever discovered.

The team has already uncovered more than a dozen similar, though smaller, Paleolithic bifaces. Future research is expected to shed more light on the origin and function of these ancient tools and the people who made them.

Beyond the Qurh study, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula is overseeing 11 additional archaeological projects in the region. This ambitious program aims to unearth the mysteries of the area’s ancient past and understand the rich human history of Saudi Arabia.

Archaeology plays a key role in the renewal of Al-Ula as a world-class heritage and natural destination. Currently, dozens of teams with archaeologists from around the world are working against the clock to study and preserve historical sites in the region before they disappear.


The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU)

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