Archaeologists in Saudi Arabia excavate ‘forgotten kingdoms’

Archaeologists within the kingdom are working to excavate the remnants of the traditional cities of Dadan and Lihyan in Al-Ula.

In the arid desert and mountains of Al-Ula in northwest Saudi Arabia, archaeologists are working to excavate the remnants of the traditional and long-forgotten kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan.

Al-Ula, a flagship vacationer vacation spot because it opened in 2019, is thought mainly for the majestic tombs of Madain Saleh, a 2,000-year-old metropolis carved into rocks by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab individuals who additionally constructed Petra in neighbouring Jordan.

A workforce of French and Saudi archaeologists is now centered on excavating 5 close by websites associated to the Dadanite and Lihyanite civilisations, necessary regional powers that flourished 2,000 years in the past.

“It’s a project that really tries to unlock the mysteries of [these] civilisations,” stated Abdulrahman al-Sohaibani, who’s co-directing the Dadan archaeological mission.

A French archaeologist and his co-workers rigorously clear the pottery to look at the findings recognized to be from Dadan and Lihyan civilisation [Ahmed Yosri/Reuters]

Dadan is talked about within the Old Testament and the Lihyanite kingdom was one of many largest of its time, stretching from Medina within the south to Aqaba within the north in modern-day Jordan, in line with the Royal Commission for the undertaking.

Spanning roughly 900 years till 100 CE, the kingdoms managed very important commerce routes however little is thought about them. The workforce is hoping to be taught extra about their worship rituals, social life and financial system.

Previous excavations had been restricted to the principle sanctuary space, stated Jerome Rohmer, a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research.

“We would just like have a comprehensive overview of the chronology of the site, the layout of the site, its material culture, its economy,” Rohmer added.

“It’s a comprehensive project where we’re basically trying to answer all of these questions.”

In Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to rework Saudi Arabia’s financial system and society, Al-Ula has gained prominence. The kingdom is banking on tourism because it tries to divulge heart’s contents to the world and diversify its financial system away from oil.

Al-Ula’s growth is a part of a move to protect pre-Islamic heritage websites with a view to entice non-Muslim vacationers and strengthen nationwide identification.