Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs

Murdhi Jalbakh Al-Fahiqi said that old scripts, such as Musnadian, Thamudian, and Nabataean, are not far from the Arabic language. (Supplied)
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Murdhi Jalbakh Al-Fahiqi said that old scripts, such as Musnadian, Thamudian, and Nabataean, are not far from the Arabic language. (Supplied)
Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs
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Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs
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Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs
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Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs
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Updated 15 March 2022

Researcher helps discover Saudi archaeological sites, petroglyphs

Murdhi Jalbakh Al-Fahiqi said that old scripts, such as Musnadian, Thamudian, and Nabataean, are not far from the Arabic language. (Supplied)

MAKKAH: Saudi researcher Murdhi Jalbakh Al-Fahiqi has helped with the discovery of archaeological sites and petroglyphs in Tabuk, Taima and the northern region, delivering antiquities that have been selected as masterpieces and displayed in countries around the world.
His interest in research began more than 20 years ago, and his fieldwork has unearthed Aramaic, Dadaani, Nabataean, and Thamudian inscriptions, and prehistoric drawings depicting the daily activities of Stone Age people.
“As a researcher interested in antiquities, I provided the National Museum with more than 24 antiquities, including Aramaic, Lehayani and Thamudian,” he told Arab News. “I also guided authorities to archaeological sites, the most important of which are cumulative burial sites west of Taima, circular burial sites south of Taima, as well as stone installations near Taima Great Wall.”

The pieces I handed over were chosen from among the masterpieces of the Kingdom’s antiquities that were presented to some countries of the world.

Murdhi Jalbakh Al-Fahiqi

He was featured in Prince Sultan bin Salman’s book “Friends of Antiquities” as someone who was interested in antiquities and inscriptions. “The pieces I handed over were chosen from among the masterpieces of the Kingdom’s antiquities that were presented to some countries of the world,” he added.
Al-Fahiqi said that old scripts, such as Musnadian, Thamudian, Safaitic, Lihyanite, Dadaani, Aramaic and Nabataean, were not far from the Arabic language, especially the ancient Arabic dialects known as defunct Arabic or the Arabic of inscriptions.
“The dialects are divided into southern and northern. The area of ancient Arab tribes extending from Damascus to AlUla is full of inscriptions. Reading and translating the symbols, writings and inscriptions of the rocks show that the northern Arabic alphabet consisted of 28 letters and, according to scientific and historical studies and archaeological surveys, it is a classical Arabic language.
“The ancient southern Arabic dialects that spread in the south of the Arabian Peninsula consisted of 29 letters, which focused on geometric consistency in writing.”
As for the Nabataean script, from which the Hejazi Arabic script was derived, Al-Fahiqi said it consisted of 22 consonant characters. Although it was a script used by the northern Arab tribes, it belonged to a family of other scripts as it came from the Aramaic line, whose alphabet also consisted of 22 consonant characters.
It was used by the Aramaic tribes that inhabited the far north of Arabia, and they were the ones who derived the Aramaic script from the Phoenician script and developed it.
He said that Saudi universities taught ancient languages in the peninsula, especially in tourism and archaeology colleges, and in scientific centers abroad such as the Islamic University of Minnesota, and in European universities in Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Russia.
He said that Orientalists began arriving in the Arabian Peninsula about 200 years ago to explore its history and study its legacies.
Those interested in the Thamudian inscriptions included the German linguist Emil Rieder in 1837, followed by his compatriot Wilhelm Philippe Schimper in 1841, then the Frenchman Charles Huber, who arrived in northern Saudi Arabia and collected about 130 Thamudian inscriptions from Taima, Jebel Hasma, and Madaen Saleh.
In 1882, he collected Thamudian inscriptions from the region of Hail. Huber made a third trip to Taima, Tabuk, AlUla and Al-Jawf and collected about 825 inscriptions.
He was followed by the German researcher Julius Euting, who collected about 800 Thamudian inscriptions.
The English traveler Charles Doughty, who made expeditions in 1875 and 1877 to the north of the Arabian Peninsula, was followed by a number of Orientalists such as John Philby, Lankester Harding, and others.
Between them they collected many Thamudian, Musnadian, Nabataean and other inscriptions.
Al-Fahiqi said the inscriptions were a historical asset because they talked about the history of the Kingdom and its deeply rooted civilizations.
Saudi Arabia was, he explained, an open-air museum that included thousands of ancient inscriptions from different eras, as shown by archaeological discoveries such as those related to the beginning of horse domestication and the oldest human bone in history, as well as ancient trade routes.
They revealed information about the social, economic, political and religious conditions in the Arabian Peninsula, and provided many insights into names, families, tribes and kingdoms.
They also revealed linguistic and biblical content, serving as an important historical source for the pre-Islamic ages.
Rock inscriptions reveal different types of ancient scripts, including Thamudian, Safaitic, Sabi, Lihyanite, Dadaani, Nabatean, Aramaic, Greek and early Islamic inscriptions.
They are generally spread over a large area of the Kingdom’s territory to the north and south.
Nabatean inscriptions are concentrated in the area of AlUla, Al-Hijr, Tabuk and Taima.
Thamudian inscriptions are mainly concentrated in Hail, Al-Jawf, Qassim, the Northern Borders, and the area of Tabuk around Taima governorate.
The inscriptions of the Sabi and Minaean scripts are spread in the south of the Kingdom in Najran, around the area of Hima, Al-Ukhdud, Tuwaiq and the Al- Kawkab Mountains, Al-Faw, the capital of the first Kindah kingdom in Wadi Al-Dawasir, and the region of AlUla around the site of Al-Khriba.


Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy
Updated 30 September 2022

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

Riyadh conference to focus on science and philosophy

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host a conference in Riyadh that will explore the convergence of  science and philosophy.

The meeting, in its second edition, is being organized by the Kingdm’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission and will take place from Dec. 1-3 at King Fahd National Library in the Saudi capital.

The theme of "Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time, and Humanity" has been chosen to enable a convergence of science and philosophy, organizers said on Thursday.

Philosophers, scientists,  and artists will be in attendance to discuss the topics such as the modern spaces of existence, the status of contemporary science, and justice and ethics in exploration. Intellectuals are also expected to discuss the complexities of space diplomacy and climate change and environmental crises, assessing how these issues will shape the future of humanity.

The three-day conference will feature lectures, panel discussions, seminars and workshops. There will be a children’s philosophical space and two parallel activations at the event.

Organizers have also issued a Call for Papers encouraging academics around the world to contribute papers on these and other sub-themes.

Mohamed Hassan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission said: “Last year’s ground-breaking conference succeeded in putting Saudi Arabia on the global philosophical map and established the Kingdom as a regional centre for philosophical dialogue.

I am delighted to announce the second Riyadh Philosophy Conference, which will bring together a geographically diverse range of leading philosophers, educational institutions, and others, to debate the important issues of our time, and help stimulate inter-cultural, international and inter-disciplinary dialogue.”

Speakers for the event will be announced nearer the date of the conference.


Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands

Saudi entertainment body launches discount fair for international brands
  • Up to 70% off on fashion, home accessories, cosmetics
  • 3m items from 1,500 firms on display until Oct. 14

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Entertainment Authority on Wednesday announced the launch of “Outlet 2022” shopping festival, the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

According to the organizers, the two-week outdoor festival, which will kick off on Saturday, will offer exclusive discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, home accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts. The event’s galleries will have a Greek-inspired design.

On his Twitter account, Turki Al-Sheikh, GEA chairman, said the event in Riyadh is a pioneering initiative.

“We’ll soon have the ‘Outlet Festival,’ the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia. The festival will bring together the most famous brands in the world to be sold at reduced prices and discounts. A different thing in Riyadh,” Al-Sheikh said in his tweet.

The festival will be held in Al-Rehab neighborhood, west of the Saudi capital, and will include places to eat and events for children.

Farah Ahmed, who lives in the neighborhood, told Arab News that she has been observing the construction of the outlet. “It’s impressive how quickly the GEA built the space. They are working day and night to make it happen.” 

Entry to the festival is free, and will include more than three million discounted items of 1,500 international brands.

“I’m so excited about the festival, especially (since) I haven’t been able to travel or shop this summer, yet I feel that two weeks is not enough. I hope the GEA extends it further,” she added. 

Doors will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets can be booked through the Ticket MX App and website, and VIP and VVIP tickets can be booked through the Parky App and website.


MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres
Updated 30 September 2022

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

MoU signed with US institute to train Saudi judicial cadres

RIYADH: President of the Board of Grievances, and of the Administrative Judiciary Council, Sheikh Khaled Al-Youssef, recently signed a memorandum of understanding between the board and the US Case Western Reserve University in research and training.

The terms of the memorandum included training and development of judicial and administrative cadres and exchanging experiences and research in the administrative and organizational fields, to benefit from the CWRU’s expertise as one of the most prestigious international universities in the field of law and administration.

A seminar, “Synergies between the Board of Grievances in Saudi Arabia and CWRU School of Law in the US,” was also held, during which Al-Youssef presented a working paper, highlighting the Board of Grievances’ achievements in completing the digital transformation of all litigation procedures.

The working paper focused on highlighting aspects of cooperation between the two sides under the signed MoU.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Saudi Chamber recently hosted a meeting between Saudi businesspeople and a delegation from the World Affairs Councils of America to discuss cooperation between the two sides to support Saudi-US relations.

The Saudi side acquainted the US delegation with the top programs and initiatives of the Saudi Vision 2030, in addition to the mega projects that are being developed in Qiddiya and the Red Sea, among others, and the developments witnessed in the educational, tourism, technological, digital, artificial intelligence, women, youth and SMEs sectors.


Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

Saudi Arabia participates in UNESCO cultural conference

MEXICO: Unequal access to new technologies, illicit trafficking and threats to cultural heritage were among the issues on the agenda for international culture ministers who met Wednesday in Mexico City for the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or MONDIACULT.

Representatives of around 160 UNESCO member states are participating in the three-day conference, which seeks to reaffirm the global commitment to contemporary challenges facing multicultural societies and to formulate a forward-looking vision for cultural policies.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan headed the Kingdom’s delegation to MONDIACULT 2022.

The Saudi minister also headed the regional consultations for the Arab region, representing Saudi Arabia.

The consultations focused on four main objectives: identifying national and regional trends of cultural policies in countries, identifying and analyzing challenges and opportunities for cultural policies throughout the region, supporting the listing of culture in the regional trends agenda, and identifying priorities that can contribute to the final statement of MONDIACULT 2022.

The goals of the final declaration to be adopted on Friday include guaranteeing artists’ rights and regulating distribution platforms, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.

Another objective is to ensure culture is included in international discussions on climate change, notably through traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems.

“Our cultural heritage is threatened very directly by global warming,” Azoulay said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that culture is vital for public health, according to conference coordinator Pablo Raphael.

“No one would have been able to survive the confinement and stress…without books, music and cinema,” he said.

The health crisis also laid bare technological inequalities between different communities, Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said.

One of the meeting’s objectives is to find ways to guarantee that artists have access to technologies to share their work.

The final declaration is expected to include a call to recognize culture as a “global public good” that benefits all of the world’s citizens.


Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries
Updated 30 September 2022

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

Saudi Arabia offers new educational visas serving students from 160 countries

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia announced it had recently relaxed rules for foreign students, introducing long and short-term educational visas.

The educational visas target male and female students, researchers, and academics for higher education to attract distinguished talents and raise the quality of the education and sector, presenting the Kingdom as an attractive educational destination.

The Ministry of Education pointed out that this scheme is divided into short-term visas for educational programs of up to a year and long-term visas for programs of more than a year.

It also noted that the advantages of the visa scheme are to serve students from 160 countries, register data in nine languages, link applications with the relevant authorities, and facilitate the procedures for enrolling in universities in the Kingdom.

The holders of long and short-term educational visas are exempt from the statutory requirement related to providing a sponsor in the Kingdom.

Shoura Council member Dr. Sultana Al-Badawi told Arab News that the educational visa is one of the myriads of achievements of the Kingdom.

“It achieves one of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 … to be an open country for everyone, whether for work, tourism or performing religious rituals,” said Al-Badawi.

She noted that any student in the world meeting the conditions for an educational visa can now apply for an one to benefit from the Kingdom’s numerous advantages.

“We will have short and long-term visas for educational purposes, dealing with various academic and research aspects, innovation, training, teaching, study, and others, enabling students to benefit from studying in universities and advanced Saudi educational institutions,” she added.

“I am certain that the coming period will witness large (numbers of) applications for educational visas from different countries given the Kingdom’s great global stature, reflected in its economy and the flexibility of its systems to achieve the requirements of a good life, on top of which are security and safety.”