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This ancient megalith monument, consisting of concentric stone circles and a tumulus at the center, although looks impressive from the air, is hardly visible from the ground. The walls are just six feet high; only the central mound is higher. Located in the middle of a bare expanse of field in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, this otherwise large stone monument went unnoticed for centuries. It was discovered by Israeli archeologists only after the territory was captured from Syria in 1967.

The Syrians called it Rujm el-Hiri, which means "stone heap of the wild cat" in Arabic. In Hebrew, it is named Gilgal Refaim, which means the “wheel of Refaim”, where “Refaim” is an ancient race of giants, mentioned in the Bible, that supposedly lived in Iron Age Israel. The word “Refaim” in modern Hebrew also means "ghosts" or "spirits". This reference to “giants” and “ghosts” alludes to its gigantic size —the stone circle is 160 meters across— as well as to the mystery of who built the complex and the purpose behind it.

rujm-el-hiri-1

Photo credit: Israeltourism/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.





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