Archeological team to restore 'The Stone of Antar'



Arab News

Published — Tuesday 5 March 2013

Last update 4 March 2013 11:26 pm

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The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has sent a specialist team an area north of Uyun Al Jawa District to restore the Stone of Antar ibn Shaddad. Ibn Shaddad, commonly known as Antar, was a renowned Arabian hero and poet in the period before Islam. Antar, it is believed, used to meet his lover Abla, who he desired to marry, at the stone structure.
The archeological team are tasked with cleaning the graffiti using scientific methods and restoring the stone as a symbol of love and loyalty.
This procedure comes in response to the directives of Prince Faisal bin Bandar, governor of Qassim Region, who instructed officials to remove distortions found on the site.
Awad Al-Zahrani, director general of museums at the SCTA, urged residents in the region to preserve the historical sites of their country as they are national treasures.
One of Antar's poems was immortalized when it became one of the Hanged Poems. Know as Mu'allaqat, these poems were considered the best of their time. In pre-Islamic times a gathering know as Okaz Fair, held near modern day Taif, was attended by contestants who presented their odes to judges, who would select the best work. These poems were written in golden letters and hung on the walls of the Kaaba in Makkah for pilgrims to admire.

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