RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) honored 140 citizens during the first Antiquities Forum of Saudi Arabia for their contributions in returning a large number of artefacts to the commission.
The citizens stressed that their response was to the call of Prince Sultan bin Salman, the president of SCTH, and handing in the antiques was a national duty which aims to highlight the history and culture of the Kingdom and its role in human civilization.
The pieces will be displayed in museums across the Kingdom and will be seen by citizens, residents and tourists alike. The honored citizens also praised the role of King Salman in the preservation of the national heritage and history, and they advised other citizens who may have antiquities to return them to the SCTH.
Arab News met some of these honored citizens and talked to them about their motives and feelings.
Eid Al-Yahya, the presenter of the famous TV program “In the Footsteps of the Arabs,” is one of the honored citizens.
Al-Yahya said he found the artefacts in different places during his trips to archaeological sites and immediately turned them over to the SCTH.
He added that these antiquities he returned date back to 700 BC; one of them is a statue of a king of Lihyan, which he found in Um Daraj Temple in the town of Al-Ula while filming an episode of his TV program in 2015. He also found a cup which was used for incense during that era.
Another citizen, Mohammed Al-Humud, said he returned 25 artefacts from the Riyadh area. Some of these belonged to the stone age, one to the pre-Islamic era, and some belonged to the beginning of the Islamic era.
Al-Humud said he bought some of the antiquities from auctions in Riyadh. “I want people to see them because they reflect the civilization and history of the Kingdom.”
On the other hand, the Saudi Embassy in Washington honored 14 American citizens, who used to work in Kingdom, for returning artefacts to the SCTH.
The ceremony took place at the embassy and coincided with the first Saudi Antiquities Forum in Riyadh. Sami Al-Sadhan, the deputy of the ambassador, gave certificates of honor to the American citizens.