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.


Mustafa Al-Mahdi, CEO of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu

Mustafa Al-Mahdi
Updated 4 min 5 sec ago

Mustafa Al-Mahdi, CEO of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu

Mustafa Al-Mahdi has been the CEO of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu since October 2018.
Al-Mahdi did his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah in 1986. He continued doing different professional courses and certification programs from different countries around the world to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in his profession.
Al-Mahdi began his professional life at the Saudi Arabian Marketing and Refining Co, (SAMAREC). After a brief stint at SAMAREC, he joined the oil giant Saudi Aramco in 1993 as a coordinator at the Saudi Strategic Storage Division.
He climbed the corporate ladder at Aramco and served in key positions in different departments of the energy company.  In September 2013, he left Aramco as manager of the company’s Yanbu Refinery.
Subsequently, he freelanced as a business strategy consultant before his appointment as the chief executive officer at the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. He is also member of the board of directors at Marafiq.
On Monday, Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed called on Al-Mahdi in Jubail. They discussed aspects of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and India. They reviewed ways to boost cooperation in the industrial sector.