Roman shipwreck pieces to be displayed in Riyadh museum

Updated 18 April 2016

Roman shipwreck pieces to be displayed in Riyadh museum

ABHA: A joint team of Saudi and German archaeologists has found the remains of a Roman shipwreck along the Red Sea coast.
In addition to it, the remains of another ship dating back to the early Islamic period have also been discovered in the area between Rabigh in the north and Al-Shoaibah in the south.
The items have been delivered to the National Museum in Riyadh for public display, said the discoverers at a seminar.
German archaeologist Michaela Reinfeld said many underwater remains are waiting to be discovered.
She said it was part of her team’s job in the Kingdom to train Saudis in the field of underwater archaeology.
Reinfeld added that the Saudi coast is rich in these wrecks and their presence has prompted the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to step up efforts to discover the treasures with the assistance of international experts.
Mahdi Al-Qarni, head of the Saudi team, said the successive civilizations on the Arabian Peninsula were major contributors to underwater relics in the Red Sea which has been a trade route since ancient times. He said the Saudi and German team had earmarked 50 locations for more exploration.

He stressed that the discovery of underwater archaeological finds requires specialized expertise, especially as the Red Sea waters contain a good deal of waste and other pieces that are not of archaeological interest.
Al-Qarni added, “The underwater cultural heritage is part of our identity and national history, and protecting it is the responsibility of all of us.”
Al-Qarni praised the German team’s efforts in providing expertise through intensive training, and pointed to the success of the Saudi team in getting diving licenses. This promises to produce specialized archaeologists, and will contribute to the discovery of submerged relics by trained national cadres in the near future. There is a growing interest in underwater archaeology all over the world with a number of universities and scientific institutions involved in the search.
He said that the monuments system, museums and architectural heritage sites are devoted to discovering underwater relics. In addition he highlighted the cooperation between relevant government agencies to preserve the underwater cultural heritage and encourage the immediate reporting of new discoveries.
Reinfeld pointed out that the protection of sunken/underwater monuments depends on several elements, including spreading awareness of the importance of the sunken relics/discoveries by qualified archaeologists, and by adopting scientific procedures that teach how to explore and protect the discoveries as well as the museum’s role in preserving and presenting the items as well as educating the public about them.
There is also a need for laboratories dedicated to the study of archaeological finds under the sea and the way to deal with them scientifically. In this context, she mentioned the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018

Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.