Third mosque discovered during excavations at Al-Abla in Asir

The SCTH has implemented four excavations in Al-Abla. (SPA)
Updated 21 April 2019

Third mosque discovered during excavations at Al-Abla in Asir

  • The excavations are part of an initiative to protect the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.

BISHA: A third mosque has been discovered during excavations at the site of ancient mining colonies at Al-Abla in Bisha, in the Asir region of Saudi Arabia.

The discovery was made by a team from the Department of Archeology and Museums at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). 

The excavations are part of an initiative by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program as part of the commission’s efforts to protect the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.

“The excavations kicked off at the facade of the mosque, which has an area of 2,616 square meters, where we discovered walls of stone covered with white plaster,” said Abdullah Al-Aklabi, the head of the excavating team.

The floor consists of crushed gravel mixed with sand and water, covered with a layer of fine gravel, he added. At the center there is a half-circle mihrab, and in the southeast side two rooms have been found, one of which was used to provide light for the mosque.

The SCTH has implemented four excavations in Al-Abla. 

It is considered one of the most important ancient mining sites, as it was located in what was the historical southern sector of the ancient trade route for spice and incense, linking southern and northern Arabia.

The site bears witness to the economic activity of the ancient southern kingdoms of Arabia, a role that thrived during the peak of trade by the Quraish, a tribe of merchants in Makkah. 

Al-Abla retained its mercantile role after the rise of Islam as it was an important stop on the pilgrimage route linking Sanaa to Makkah, in addition to its economic role as a mining colony, in particular during the first few centuries of Islam.

Archaeological excavations are being carried out at the site to reveal and understand the socioeconomic hierarchy of the time, and to identify the various epochs of settlement at the site.

Future archaeological works are expected to explore the transformation in the production of ores in pre-Islamic and post-Islamic times, and shed the light on the urbanizing role of the site.


Saudi student takes part in international program for COVID-19

The CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations. (ReThe CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations. (Reuters/File)ters/File)
Updated 04 August 2020

Saudi student takes part in international program for COVID-19

  • Al-Towijri’s CVT role includes writing articles, designing social media posts, and welcoming and guiding new members

JEDDAH: For the last few months, high school student Talal Al-Towijri from Alkhobar has been investing his time during the pandemic to work with students from across the globe to make the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) more understandable to the public, having joined the US-based Coronavirus Visualization Team (CVT).

The CVT is a nonprofit, crowdsourced student network founded at Harvard, seeking to disseminate information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are a group of over 1,000 skilled and passionate students from different countries across the globe who are working remotely on leveraging data analytics and visualizations for the public about COVID-19’s ongoing impact,” Al-Towijri told Arab News.
The organization was established to combat the current “infodemic,” or information overload, which can be inaccurate and misleading.
“It is a tech-net community of data scientists and analysts, developers and communicators,” said Al-Towijri. “We also work with professors and industry professionals to introduce quality statistics and to better visualize and share the impacts, present and future, of COVID-19.”
Al-Towijri’s CVT role includes writing articles, designing social media posts, and welcoming and guiding new members.
“By joining CVT I felt like I was doing something to help the world instead of sitting around during the lockdown,” he said.
The students’ group works with partners to publicize accurate and digestible information and help organizations fighting on the frontline and developing data-driven policy proposals.
The CVT data visualizations display information from multiple, often overlooked, angles, such as climate implications, socioeconomic factors, and societal aspects.
Moreover, such data analytics can help businesses, nations, and individuals not only understand the disease impact but also to explore coronavirus recovery strategies.
“My team and I are a crowdsourced group of passionate school and university students from around the world who are voluntarily analyzing data on all matters COVID-19 including socioeconomics, census statistics, mental health, and pollution-related data.”
The CVT collaborates with Harvard Innovation Labs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation Initiative, the COVID Foundation, and over 20 other organizations, and is seeking more partnerships around the world, including in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East and North African regions.
Al-Towijri joined when the organization was first launched in April by Harvard student Lucas Chu as a member of the Coronavirus Visualization Community (CVC) before he became a managing member of the CVT itself.

HIGHLIGHTS

•The CVT is a nonprofit, crowdsourced student network founded at Harvard, seeking to disseminate information surrounding the pandemic.

• The CVT data visualizations display information from multiple, often overlooked, angles, such as climate implications, socioeconomic factors, and societal aspects.

The CVT has launched different projects and initiatives, including online events and panels with prominent guests in the field of health and science from top international universities and organizations.
He is very proud of his experience at the CVT. He believes that skilled and passionate high school and university students who are keen to invest their abilities in a rewarding volunteering experience should join such organizations.
He said: “Most students are talented by nature, but they are usually not given chances that could push them out of their comfort zones.”
“Therefore, I believe there should be more student-run organizations in the Kingdom, and there should be more activities for students where they can engage with the community and feel productive, helpful, and powerful,” he added.
 Al-Towijri noted that there is a lack of student-run organizations in the region with sustainable goals and sustainable support from big organizations.
For him, such organizations need support and access to resources as much as they need passionate leaders to help them grow and prosper.
“What distinguishes CVT is that it is crowdsourced and student-run; we are students reporting to students, it is a beautiful community that feels like a family,” he said.
Al-Towijri believes that CVT has a strong potential to expand its reach in the Kingdom by partnering with universities and different companies, as he believes many students in the country are highly skilled and passionate to make the world a better place.
“I want more Arabs and Saudis to join the organization,” he said. “Any student with minimal skills in research and writing can join.”
The CVT can be reached at www.understandcovid.org.