Saudi Arabia’s largest eastern archaeological site explored

Dr. Jerome Romer, at a lecture organized by the Antiquities and Museums Department of the SCTH, claimed that the dig was the biggest yet to be launched in Saudi Arabia, and that the site was the largest yet discovered in the east of the Kingdom. (SPA)
Updated 28 March 2019

Saudi Arabia’s largest eastern archaeological site explored

  • Thaj, 90 km west of the city of Jubail and under observation since a 2016 agreement between the SCTH and the French National Center for Scientific Research

RIYADH: The head of the Saudi-French archaeological mission working at the site of Thaj in the Eastern Province has given an update on the progress of the excavation.

Dr. Jerome Romer, at a lecture organized by the Antiquities and Museums Department of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), claimed that the dig was the biggest yet to be lunched in Saudi Arabia, and that the site was the largest to be unearthed in the east of the Kingdom.

Thaj, 90 km west of the city of Jubail and under observation since a 2016 agreement between the SCTH and the French National Center for Scientific Research, would once have been a major urban center at the beginning of the Common Era, over 2,000 years ago.

Excavations in the region, Romer added, represented an exciting new chapter in the history of the Arabian Peninsula, and he pointed out that the exploration of the site revealed it was perhaps the biggest pre-Islamic Arab settlement on the East Coast.

“In ancient times, just like today, the Arabian Peninsula was a commercial and cultural hub, at the crossroads of the great civilizations of that time in the Levant, Mesopotamia and India. Its cities hosted rich trade convoys and became strong commerce-based kingdoms,” he said.

The Saudi-French mission has carried out multiple excavations and surveys during its time at Thaj, including a general survey of the site and the surrounding topography.

Excavations have uncovered letters, drawings and inscriptions in a number of tombs on hills around the ancient city, and rock samples collected from the northern part of the dig have been used to date it, as well as trace geological events during its history.


Makkah’s Grand Mosque courtyard extension project nears completion

Updated 54 min 22 sec ago

Makkah’s Grand Mosque courtyard extension project nears completion

  • The project, which is due to be completed at the end of this month, aims to increase the capacity of the Ground Mosque and its surrounding courtyards
  • The work is 85 percent complete

RIYADH: A project to add more than 3,000 meters square of courtyard space near to the Grand Mosque in Makkah is almost complete, Saudi Press Agency reported. 
The extension to the area will help control the movement of crowds near the mosque, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said. The work is 85 percent complete, the statement said.
The expansion work involves the removal of a number of places designated for ablution and installing them under the stairs of the courtyard. Toilets have also been installed around the edges of the courtyard.
The project, which is due to be completed at the end of this month, aims to increase the capacity of the Ground Mosque and its surrounding courtyards to provide the best service to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, deal with crowd control, and ensure the safety of visitors.