Saudi Arabia with a rich history and home to archeological treasures

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The discovery of several ancient sites has put Saudi Arabia on top of the list of those countries with a rich history and home to archeological wonders. (SPA)
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The discovery of several ancient sites has put Saudi Arabia on top of the list of those countries with a rich history and home to archeological wonders. (SPA)
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The discovery of several ancient sites has put Saudi Arabia on top of the list of those countries with a rich history and home to archeological wonders. (SPA)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Saudi Arabia with a rich history and home to archeological treasures

  • For centuries, the remains of several ancient cities that once thrived in this area lied in ruins away from people’s attention

RIYADH: Modern-day Saudi Arabia is home to several archeological treasures, evidence that this part of the world was once the cradle of ancient civilizations.

Several cities that once thrived in this area lay in ruins away from people’s attention and, until a few decades ago, this part of the world was considered to be a vast and uninhabitable desert. However technology has made excavation easier in difficult terrains and changed that perception for good.

The discovery of several ancient sites has put Saudi Arabia on the list of countries that have a rich history and are home to archeological wonders.

An exhibition called “Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia Across the Ages” has been hosted by prominent museums around the world in order to introduce this heritage and legacy to international audiences.

One of the artifacts includes a sandstone statue known as the “Suffering Man.” The masterpiece, dating back 6,000 years, was found near the town of Al-Kahafah, 200 km south of Hail.

It depicts a man with sad sunken eyes, a downturned mouth and his hands extending toward his heart.

“It was discovered during excavations by the archeology department in the Hail region,” said Saudi archaeologist Dr. Saad Al-Rashed. “It dates back to the 4th millennium B.C. and exhibits a mixture of tenderness and serenity. It also reflects funerary expressions.”

He said that transporting the piece was subject to approval from the highest authorities, under the guarantee of international covenants, including insurance and personal accompaniment from the country of origin.

Another famous Saudi artifact is the “Eye-Stele.” It was discovered in Tayma and dates back to the 5th century B.C. It is a memorial tombstone featuring a human face and Aramaic inscriptions citing the name of Taim bin Zaid, a prominent figure of his time.

This important piece, which is well-known among archaeologists around the globe, is the only clear evidence of the existence of cultural contact between Tayma and the northwest and southern Arabian Peninsula, where similar monuments have been found.

Another item is the “Head of a Man.” The bronze statue dates back to the 1st century B.C. and was discovered in Qaryat Al-Faw, 700 km southwest of Riyadh. It shows the face of a man with a Roman hairstyle typical of that period.

The ‘Suffering Man’ was discovered during excavations by the archeology department in Hail region. It dates back to the 4th millennium BC.

Saad Al-Rashed, Saudi archeologist

Two more bronze statues have also been discovered in Qaryat Al-Faw. The first is the statue of Byzantine Emperor Hercules, who is grabbing a club with his right hand and a lion’s skin with his left. The second is of the Egyptian Pharaoh Herbocrath, who is wearing the pharaoh’s double crown.

The masterpieces from Qaryat Al-Faw include a colorful mural of a prominent figure of Kinda Kingdom that dates back to the 1st century B.C. The mural depicts a man with thick hair and a light mustache, grapevines swirling behind him, and two servants. It features a banquet and shows the influence of the Dionysian painting style that was popular in the East during the 1st and the 2nd centuries A.D.

A small statue of “Thaj Girl” was found with Thaj treasures discovered in a burial chamber in Jubail in 1998. These include a gold mask, pearls, bracelets, rings, necklaces, a gold placard inlaid with red carved rubies, and other gold pieces that date back to the Hellenistic era more than 2,000 years ago.

The 46-centimeter statue of the girl dates back to the 1st century A.D. and is made of bitumen, iron and lead. During that era the Arabian Peninsula was linked to the Mediterranean’s major trade routes.

Incense convoys in southern Arabia crossed these routes, some of which passed through Thaj city. This trade may have been the source of wealth that enabled wealthy men to put luxury items into the tomb.

Historical research and archaeological excavations indicate that settlement in the Thaj region dates back to the Stone Ages, and that the region flourished between 332 B.C. and the 1st century A.D.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.

INNUMBERS

280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.