Bones of sheep, gazelle, ibex and domesticated cattle found around betyls, stone representations of gods, point to the structures being used as offering sites of ritualistic animal sacrifices. Dating back to the Neolithic Era, these monuments are believed to have been constructed more than 7,000 years ago, making them among the oldest known ritual sites in the world.
Another significance of this discovery is that it is the earliest evidence of animal domestication in the region.
While mustatils were originally discovered in the 1970s, recent satellite photography, aerial surveys, ground research and excavations have unearthed more than double the amount of structures that were previously identified.
Numerous researchers continue to study these structures that point to an advanced society flourishing in AlUla far earlier than ever imagined. International research teams and institutions such as AlUla's own Kingdoms Institute work to uncover and understand 200,000 years of heritage in a land rich with historic gems yet to be discovered.