Archaeological discoveries in various parts of Saudi Arabia announced

The Vice-President of Antiquities and of the Museum Sector in the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage announces at a press conference that new antiquities were discovered recently in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2017
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Archaeological discoveries in various parts of Saudi Arabia announced

RIYADH: Archaeologists have announced a number of discoveries and phenomena in various parts of the Kingdom on the sidelines of the first Saudi Antiquities Forum which ended on Thursday.
One of these is a 1,000-year-old gold dinar struck in 453 AH, and uncovered by an archaeologist at King Saud University, local media reported.
The gold dinar, an Islamic medieval gold coin, was found only 20 centimeters below the surface at the archaeological site.
A new astronomical phenomenon linked to the Rajajil site was also found, in addition to six other Fatimid coins, glass bottles with writings dating back to the reign of the Caliph Al-Mustansir, part of a red agate pottery, and decorative beads.
Rajajil, often called the Stonehenge of Saudi Arabia, is a mysterious ancient site located on a sandstone terrace some 20 kilometers south of the center of Sakakah, the capital of Al-Jouf province, and a few kilometers south of Qarah village.
Archaeological excavations had revealed that Rajajil is indeed a burial site, but its true importance is “probably its role in the transition of lifestyles from nomadism toward sedentarism induced by climate changes on the Arabian Peninsula.
Archaeological investigation in the Al-Hajjar area also revealed the existence of 17 tombs with the names of 14 sculptors who worked in Madain Saleh, the first world heritage site of Saudi Arabia. The archaeological tombs in the area bore artistic inscriptions.


Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018
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Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.