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Thursday, April 2, 1998 Published at 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK



World: Africa

Discovery in mystery of desert stones

Scientists in the United States say they have established that gigantic stone slabs in the Sahara Desert at Nabta in southern Egypt were built as an astronomical observatory by stone age people centuries before anyone had previously thought.

The BBC Science correspondent says these findings of a civilisation far more advanced than had been generally assumed will provoke a rethink among archaeologists about the origins of Egypt's pharaonic dynasty who later built the Pyramids.

Scientists at the University of Colorado say the Nabta stones, weighing several tons, were dragged more than a kilometre into their present position.

Satellite photos show the stones were precisely aligned with the sun at the summer solstice.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service






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