RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Commission announced on Monday the start of a new archaeological excavation of the site of Zubala as part of the commission’s excavation projects across the Kingdom. The site is located south of Rafha Governorate in the Northern Border Region.
Zubala is mentioned in several historical sources. It was a key station for trade caravans and pilgrims on the Kufic pilgrimage route known as the Zubayda Trail. The project will excavate one of the historical trail’s stations following the announcement by Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan concerning the commission’s intent to preserve the cultural heritage of the trail, and to launch the Zubayda Trail Program. The program will research and publish its findings surrounding the historical sites and launch new projects to explore the trail.
The station reached the height of its prosperity during the Abbasid era, with early Arab sources citing various markets, a fortress protecting the city and a mosque.
The Zubala site has been subject to archaeological excavations since 2015, when works uncovered several findings, including a rectangular mosque and artifacts such as pottery, porcelain, soapstone and precision tools made of metal and glass.
The findings indicate the methods of manufacture and decoration, the creativity of early artisans and the commercial relationship between Zubala and the surrounding cities.
The current work aims to complete excavation of the site by utilizing new methodology.
The project’s objectives are to document the features of the site, preserve Saudi cultural heritage and highlight the civilizational role of the Kingdom through various historical periods.