The mysterious ruins went undiscovered until 2009. And even now they remain a mystery befitting of the title "Syria's Stonehenge" as scientists eager to study the ruins have struggled to get access to them.
Located near Deir Mar Musa, a Syrian monastery called "the nexus" of Islam and Christianity by the Christian Science Monitor, that ancient site is itself directly in between Homs and Damascus, two opposing cities currently caught in the violence of Syria.
“What [the ruins] looked like was a landscape for the dead and not for the living,” said archaeologist Robert Mason last Wednesday to the Harvard Gazette. “It’s something that needs more work and I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen.”
The monastery was constructed in the sixth century and inhabited until the 19th century. According to Mason, the unexplored finds around Musa may be far older, perhaps as much as 10,000 years old. Fox News points out that the oldest of Egypt's pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, is 4,500 years old.
An area under the church's altar may be an entrance to underground tombs, according to a 2010 interview with the Independent, but without further exploration Dr. Mason fears they may never be revealed.
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Flickr photo via Ai@ce