Foreign teams to study 15 Saudi archaeological sites

Updated 22 August 2013

Foreign teams to study 15 Saudi archaeological sites

Fifteen missions from abroad, including teams from France, Italy, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan and Belgium, are cooperating with the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities to explore 15 projects at historic and archaeological sites in different regions of Saudi Arabia.
The archaeological survey began in the Kingdom 40 years ago with the implementation of five-year plans carried out by Saudi missions in cooperation with foreign missions. Through the missions, many archaeological sites were demarcated and recorded and some sites were chosen for further exploration.
Considering the diversity of various time periods, comprehensive excavations were taken up to cover various ages — from the prehistoric era to the advent of Islamic civilization.
The launch of archaeological studies in the Kingdom, in addition to field surveys and archaeological excavations taken up in all the regions, helped in collecting a tremendous amount of information and evidence covering periods stretching from prehistoric times to the late Islamic era.
Archaeological discoveries include artifacts from ancient cities, such as housing units, architectural buildings, castles, forts and towers. Other discoveries include ponds and dams, canals and wells, pottery, tools made of steatite, glass items of different colors and shapes, metal coins and ornaments, weapons made of minerals, and many rock drawings and inscriptions in Nabataean and Southern Mosnad, as well as other scripts.
Daifallah Ettalhi, head of Tourism and Archaeology at the University of Hail and the President of the Saudi side in the Saudi-French Mission at the site of Madain Saleh, said: “The Arabian Peninsula is the cradle of ancient civilizations, but many aspects of its great history are still unexplored. The Authority’s work in this field is to direct archaeological detection toward a deeper understanding of the history of Arab and Islamic nations, as well as human history in general.” 
According to Ettalhi, the mission has found many artifacts in Madain Saleh, notably currencies dating back to the reign of Al-Harith, the fourth King of the Nabateans who ruled during the period 9 BC to 40 AD.
Abdul Aziz Gazan, the chairman of the Saudi Association for Archaeological Studies and the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs of the Faculty of Tourism and Antiquities, said archaeological fieldwork in the Kingdom had turned more active than it was in the past.
“There are many foreign missions operating in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with the Saudi Mission, and this is a good thing,” he said.
However, there is a need to enhance field work by increasing missions operating at archaeological sites because archaeological work is a national act, the first goal of which is to rebuild and understand the history of the country since ancient times, he said.


Give your heart to everything you do, says Duchess of York

Updated 1 min 38 sec ago

Give your heart to everything you do, says Duchess of York

  • Sarah Ferguson delighted by warm welcome in Riyadh during Misk Global Forum

RIYADH: Sarah Ferguson, Britain’s Duchess of York, said that she was moved by the warm welcome she has received from the people of Saudi Arabia. She added that it was a reflection of the good example set by the country’s rulers.

Fergie, as she is known worldwide, said she was excited and thrilled to visit the Kingdom to appear at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh.

“I love the feeling of kindness that I’m getting from the people of Saudi Arabia,” she told Arab News on Wednesday which, appropriately, was International Kindness Day. “Everyone has been so nice here in Riyadh; I think that comes from good leadership.”

She compared this wonderful reception to her experiences in other places “where people are judgmental of you,” adding: “I don’t feel that here. I feel people are embracing me as ‘Sarah’ and that is such a beautiful feeling.”

The duchess said that she hoped to return to Saudi Arabia to help the government build health centers in less-developed areas. But she admitted that it can be tough sometimes to keep going.

“We are all human and have human failings, so the best we can do is keep battling on,” she said. “It’s hard not to beat yourself up sometimes, if you’re feeling down or upset.”

Ferguson revealed that her inspiration is her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, and that she has always tried her best to be a “great mum,” urging them to “learn from my actions rather than my words.”

She added: “If your actions are of honesty and kindness and you unintentionally trip up on the way” people are likely to see you are good-hearted.

The duchess was open about her own bad decisions which, she said, happened because she believed everyone thought the way she did.

“They didn’t, and I didn’t realize that,” she said. Despite past betrayals, she said still trusts and believes in people, and has passed on the lessons she learned the hard way to her children: “I have taught my daughters not to fall into those traps.”

In the past, she said, some people in Britain might have viewed her philanthropic work as “attention seeking,” but did not let that divert her from a path of kindness and a desire to do good.

The duchess later hosted a showcase of her retail brand, which includes room infusers, flavored teas, and jewelry. She said all profits from the jewelry sales will be used to help children through a trust she founded in partnership with the charity Humanitas.

Ferguson was invited to attend the Misk forum by Badr Al-Asakir, head of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s private office. The prince is chairman of the Misk Initiative Center.

During a panel discussion on Tuesday titled “The Resilient Philanthropreneur,” the duchess shared her experiences of working to help children worldwide, and the resilience and persistence it had required.

“Don’t let anyone doubt you and, especially, don’t doubt yourself,” she said, encouraging people to keep an “open mind” and pursue the path they believe is right.

“Give your heart to everything you do,” was her parting advice to young people.