Ancient art reveals lions once prowled the land in prehistoric Saudi Arabia

Other drawings, like this one, show images of people and animals. (SPA)
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Updated 26 March 2020

Ancient art reveals lions once prowled the land in prehistoric Saudi Arabia

  • Professor’s research highlights images of the animals at eight sites across the country
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the most notable countries for ancient rock art

RIYADH: Archaeological studies of rock art in Saudi Arabia reveal that lions lived in the area in prehistoric times, according to Hosni Abdelhalim, a professor at King Saud University.

Although camels and mules are the animals most commonly depicted in the ancient drawings and carvings that can be found at a number of locations across the Kingdom, eight sites highlighted in a recent study by Abdelhalim include depictions of lions.

They include Wadi AlUla, Abu Taqah and Owairidh in AlUla governorate, and Jabal Umm Sanman and Shwaimes in Hail. Art depicting lions hunting was discovered in Yateb, east of Hail, and images of the animals were also found on two rocky facades in Wadi Al-Mutaiwi, southwest of Al-Dawadmi Governorate.

Sometimes individual lions are depicted, usually in calm poses. Other images show them being hunted by humans or attacking prey. This suggests that the artists based their art on scenes they witnessed in their native environment, or copied them from images they saw nearby. This indicates that the environment in some parts of the Kingdom was a suitable for lions in ancient times.

This research aims to shed light on the environmental and cultural implications of the lion art by comparing it with images found elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula and some civilizations in the ancient Near East.

Saudi Arabia’a rich cultural heritage of rock art, originating from a number of civilizations, makes it one of the most notable countries for ancient art.

Saudi customs train dogs to sniff out infected air travelers

Saudi Health Ministry officials distribute roses to people following precautionary measures to prevent coronavirus. (Supplied)
Updated 05 August 2020

Saudi customs train dogs to sniff out infected air travelers

  • 1,983 critical cases reported, death toll reaches 2,984

JEDDAH: Saudi Customs officials are taking the lead in identifying air travelers harboring the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — by using specially trained sniffer dogs.

The canine virus detectors are being drafted in at airports throughout the Kingdom to help pick up the scent of infected passengers.
Following the resumption of international flights, customs staff in Saudi Arabia are to use the animals as part of their efforts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
The customs authority, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been training Jack Russell terriers and other breeds to recognize the odor of COVID-19.
“The training has been 80 percent successful,” said Mohammed Al-Salloum, director of the National Center for Living Means at Saudi Customs, adding that final preparations were being put in place for the dog teams to start work in airport terminals throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced 1,342 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the total number in the Kingdom to 281,435.
Of the latest cases, 97 were recorded in Riyadh, 56 in Makkah, 53 in Madinah and Hafr Al-Batin, and 51 in Dammam, with 40 percent of them women. There were 34,763 active cases, with most patients in a stable condition, and 1,983 critical.
The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 increased to 243,688 with 1,635 of those being in the latest 24-hour period. The Kingdom reported 35 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the overall toll to 2,984.
The ministry said it had carried out 54,325 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests over 24 hours taking the total number of checks conducted since the outbreak to 3,528,040.