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.


Madinah museum showcases over 2,000 rare artifacts

Updated 23 August 2019

Madinah museum showcases over 2,000 rare artifacts

  • The museum has issued more than 44 books and publications on Madinah’s architecture

MADINAH: Dar Al-Madinah Museum offers visitors the opportunity to view historical pieces associated with the Prophet’s life. It features artifacts that capture the history, heritage, social life and culture of Madinah.

The museum’s executive director, Hassan Taher, said that it aims to promote the noble values of the Prophet Muhammad, encourage a sense of belonging and capture the history, culture and heritage of Madinah. The exhibits start with the Prophet’s life and end with the Saudi era.

Taher said: “The museum carries out specialized research in Madinah’s architectural heritage. It contains a library of relevant books, research and magazines, all of which are accessible to researchers.”

He said that the museum has issued more than 44 books and publications on Madinah’s architecture.

Taher explained that when preparing the museum’s narrative, it was necessary to reconcile temporal and spatial contexts so they created an added moral and intellectual value for the visitor.

He added: “There are around 2,000 artifacts in the museum’s exhibition halls. These include antiquities, extremely accurate models, handicrafts, manuscripts, documents, correspondence, old publications, postage stamps, photographs and artworks.”

One of the museum’s most valuable exhibits is a large collection of rare pieces associated with important moments in the Prophet’s life and the history of Madinah. 

These include various parts of the Kaaba, rare coins used in Madinah during different eras, ancient pottery, Islamic manuscripts, jewelry and collectibles from the pre-Islamic era.

Taher said that the museum has a professional team of guides who speak several languages, including English, Turkish, Urdu and Malay.