Ancestors built long ‘funerary avenues’ in western Arabia, study finds

The passages reflect a high degree of socioeconomic interdependence among the region’s population. (SPA)
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The passages reflect a high degree of socioeconomic interdependence among the region’s population. (SPA)
Ancestors built long ‘funerary avenues’ in western Arabia, study finds
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A dense ‘funerary avenue’ flanked by Bronze Age tombs, leading out of al ‘Ayn Oasis near Khaybar in north-west Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Ancestors built long ‘funerary avenues’ in western Arabia, study finds
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A dense ‘funerary avenue’ flanked by Bronze Age tombs, leading out of al ‘Ayn Oasis near Khaybar in north-west Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 January 2022

Ancestors built long ‘funerary avenues’ in western Arabia, study finds

The passages reflect a high degree of socioeconomic interdependence among the region’s population. (SPA)
  • Graves across peninsula point to complex networks dating back millennia

RIYADH: The Royal Commission for AlUla, in partnership with the University of Western Australia, revealed that the people who lived in the ancient northwest of the Arabian Peninsula built long “funerary avenues” surrounded by thousands of burial monuments during the third millennium BC.

The publication of the findings in “The Holocene” is the culmination of a year of tremendous progress made by the UWA team, working under RCU, to shed light on the lives of the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula.

The passages, linking oases and pastures, reflect a high degree of socio-economic interdependence among the region’s population, indicating the existence of a sophisticated social network 4,500 years ago that extended across the peninsula.

The discovery joins the steady progress of archaeologists working in partnership with RCU in understanding the mysteries of human existence and the societies that lived in the region.

FASTFACT

The discovery joins the steady progress of archaeologists in understanding the mysteries of human existence and the societies that lived in the region.

The work of the UWAs team is part of a broader effort made by 13 specialized teams with members from around the world who work in the Archeology and Conservation Project in cooperation with Saudi experts in AlUla and Khaybar.

Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the RCU, said: “The more we learn about the ancient inhabitants of northwest Arabia, the more we are inspired by the way our mission reflects their mindset.




A 3rd millennium BC pendant burial on the southern edge of the Khaybar Oasis in north-west Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

“They lived in harmony with nature, honored their predecessors, and reached out to the wider world. The work done by our archaeological teams in 2021 demonstrates that Saudi Arabia is a home for top-flight science — and we look forward to hosting more research teams in 2022,” he added.

Director of archaeology and cultural heritage research at RCU, Dr. Rebecca Foote, said: “Projects that have been conducting fieldwork in AlUla and Khaybar for over three years, such as the UWA team, have started publishing their results, and it is terrific to see how analyses of the data are elucidating so many aspects of life from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age in northwest Arabia.

“These articles are just the beginning of the many publications that will advance our knowledge of prehistoric to modern times and have significant implications for the wider region,” she continued.




A 3rd millennium BC pendant burial on the southern edge of the Khaybar Oasis in north-west Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Researcher and historian Dr. Eid Al-Yahya said that the graves in Khaybar, known as Harat Al-Nar (Fiery Field), as well as others, are considered diverse urban patterns. “There are more than 100 patterns, and each has a distinctive architectural shape. All of the graves contain humans laid to rest in a squatting or ‘fetus’ position. We were able to identify more than a million graves with the help of Google and through a specialized scientific team.”

Regarding the timing of this era, Dr. Al-Yahya said: “These graves were made when the Arabian Peninsula was very fertile and looked like the savannah forests. They symbolize constructions made by people who lived in prosperity, did not live in a barren desert preventing them from building a burial with complex and precise engineering methods.”

He noted that the huge graves pointed towards the sky and became an important symbol for the Mesopotamian and Nile civilizations, stressing that they are the civilization of peoples who have an ancient visual and celestial dimension.

He explained that, according to the researches of the German Max Planck Institute, the last decades of the savannah era in the Arabian Peninsula dated back 6,500 years ago. When the Arabian Peninsula became a desert, its people moved to lands with rivers and transmitted their culture as well, including cuneiform, which can be found on most of the graves.

Al-Yahya said that a large part of these ancient graves were exposed to excavation in ancient times, unlike the Nile graves, which were famous for hiding the tombs of kings underground so that they would not be seen.

Cuneiform graves were visible and built above the mountains where furniture and weapons were buried with the deceased along with some of their belongings.

He stressed that what the RCU had achieved in collaboration with the UWA proved that the graves are some of the oldest types of architecture in the world — older than the pyramids dating back over 8,000 years.

Al-Yahya estimated that some of these graves may date back to the Middle Stone Age, and that they may find graves dating back further still.

 


Saudi, Italian officials discuss cultural ties

Saudi, Italian officials discuss cultural ties
Updated 15 sec ago

Saudi, Italian officials discuss cultural ties

Saudi, Italian officials discuss cultural ties

RIYADH: Saudi Heritage Commission CEO Dr. Jasser Al-Harbash on Thursday met Italian Cultural Attache in Saudi Arabia Tommaso Claudi in Riyadh.

Al-Harbash praised the ongoing cultural cooperation between the Kingdom and Italy, and reviewed with Claudi the results of the Italian mission’s archaeological excavations in the Kingdom.

They discussed areas of heritage cooperation and ways to enhance them, and touched on scientific archaeological teams and their pivotal role in archaeological discoveries in the Kingdom. 


Saudi project clears 3,640 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 3,640 Houthi mines in Yemen
Updated 4 min 28 sec ago

Saudi project clears 3,640 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 3,640 Houthi mines in Yemen

RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen dismantled 3,640 Houthi mines in the third week of January.

This figure includes 2,994 anti-tank mines, 505 unexploded ordinances and 141 other explosive devices.

The project is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia to help ease the suffering of the Yemeni people.

The demining took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

A total of 311,658 mines have been cleared since the start of the project. 


KSrelief starts rescue training project in Yemen

KSrelief starts  rescue training  project in Yemen
Updated 8 min 7 sec ago

KSrelief starts rescue training project in Yemen

KSrelief starts  rescue training  project in Yemen

MUKALLA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center inaugurated a search and rescue training project in Mukalla city in Yemen’s Hadhramaut governorate.

The project consists of seven training courses on various topics including first aid, first aid for blind people and those with special needs, firefighting and psychological aid, all of which will benefit 1,300 people.

The project aims to build the capacities of health and humanitarian aid workers, and volunteers in the emergency sectors, with all beneficiaries being issued international licenses. 


UK’s King’s College Hospital starts work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts  work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia
Updated 14 min 10 sec ago

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts  work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia
  • The Jeddah hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds in its first phase and be staffed by more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from the UK and Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: King’s College Hospital in London announced that construction has begun on a world-class medical facility in Jeddah, in partnership with Ashmore Group and Saudi Bugshan Group.

The new hospital, set to open in 2023, will be the first in Saudi Arabia fully integrated with King’s College facilities in the UK, where it has 178 years of healthcare knowledge, experience and expertise.

“We are delighted that King’s, in partnership with Ashmore, is expanding its footprint to Saudi Arabia, following on from the success of our hospital and clinics in the UAE,” said Hugh Taylor, chairman of the hospital in London.

“King’s College Hospital has a long history of providing outstanding patient care in London, and as part of our strong roots and global reach strategy we remain committed to delivering outstanding care for patients in Saudi Arabia.”

The Jeddah hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds in its first phase and be staffed by more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from the UK and Saudi Arabia. It will benefit from knowledge sharing with King’s research centers in the UK.

Afnan Abdulfattah, who earned a doctorate in orthodontics from King’s College Dental Institute, told Arab News: “This makes me, first of all, excited and proud that one of the top, leading colleges has chosen to base one of its hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

“This will be very beneficial for the future of medical education in Saudi Arabia, where students will have a chance to benefit from the world’s top doctors, top facilities and the competencies of their own country, serving their country, serving nationals of Saudi Arabia and also residents of Saudi Arabia. It will enhance the field of medicine.”

The hospital’s authorities said it will use clinical innovation and smart technologies to provide treatments. More than 40 medical and surgical specialists occupying six specialized clinical floors will focus on women’s health, metabolic disease, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, and heart and vascular conditions.

King’s College in London, which is part of Britain’s National Health Service, has a long history of treating patients with complex conditions. It has more than 13,000 staff and treats more than a million patients each year. It is considered one of the country’s busiest hospitals and is also one of the largest teaching hospitals in London.

Its hospital in Jeddah will be the first in Saudi Arabia to partner with the UK’s NHS. In 2011, King’s College signed a collaboration agreement with King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh to provide education and training for nurses.

It also signed a partnership agreement with the Royal Commission for Riyadh City to open a school in the capital, which welcomed its first students, between the ages of three and eight, in August last year. The agreement includes education from kindergarten level through to high school. Students will benefit from the resources of an institution with 140 years of educational expertise and knowledge.

 


Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations
Updated 18 min 43 sec ago

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations
  • Saudi Health Ministry reports 4,738 new infections, critical cases reach 825

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced that citizens who breach COVID-19 quarantine rules could face up to two years in prison and fines of SR200,000 ($53,330).

The announcement, made by the Ministry of Interior, added that expatriates violating the rules will be deported from the country and permanently banned from returning to the Kingdom, where approximately 10 million foreigners are living or working.

The strict measures come as part of the Saudi authorities’ policies to curb the spread of the virus.

The announcement also stressed that penalties would be doubled for those who have previously broken the rules.

Saudi Arabia confirmed 4,738 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 670,997.

Of the new cases, 1,559 were recorded in Riyadh, 573 in Jeddah, 189 in Dammam, 172 in Hofuf, 156 in Makkah, and 114 in Jazan.

Several other cities recorded fewer than 100 new cases each.

Health authorities also confirmed two new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,929.

The Ministry of Health said that of the current cases, 825 remain in critical condition.

It added that 4,973 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 622,087.

More than 56.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with more than 23.6 million people fully vaccinated.

The ministry, which has 587 vaccine centers throughout the Kingdom, urged people who have not yet received a jab to register to receive one through its Sehhaty app.

Meanwhile, testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.