The area near the Azraq Oasis in Jordan has hundreds of wheels, large structures made of stone that date back at least 2,000 years. These wheel structures are often found on lava fields and range from 82 feet to 230 feet (25 meters to 70 meters) across. Archaeologists used to believe that the Azraq Oasis wheels were used as a cemetery although that is now in doubt. (Unless otherwise noted, all the photographs in this album are taken from the air, as one can't make out the structures from flat ground.) [Read full story]
The Harrat ash-Sham lava field stretches from Syria to Saudi Arabia and contains thousands of wheels. Here, drawings reveal the various shapes these structures can take.
Another cluster of wheels found near the Azraq Oasis.
Close-up photo of one of the wheels from the Azraq area. Photographed from the air it has an amorphous design.
These stone structures have a wide variety of designs, with a common one being a circle with spokes radiating inside. This wheel in Jordan looks like it has four dots within its spokes.
This circular wheel looks kind of squeezed in this aerial photo. Researchers are still puzzled over what these stone circles were used for, with some suggesting perhaps they were places of worship or used for rituals connected with astronomical events.
The wheels in this picture are very amorphous, their spokes looking like bubbles.
Cairns, or piles of stones, are often found associated with the wheels, sometimes circling the perimeter and other times in among the spokes. Here, the wheel to the south has a ring of such cairns around it.
The spokes of this wheel radiate from a central hub.
Closing In on Wheels
In this photo the helicopter carrying the team descends toward the ground near two wheels. Even from reduced elevation the wheels are still visible.
Can You See It?
At ground level the two wheels are practically invisible and appear as little more than a jumble of stones. [Read full story]