Saudi Arabia set to resume survey and excavation projects at archaeological sites

The projects will be resumed in partnership with international missions from world-class universities and specialized international research centers

Image for illustrative purpose. View of Qasr al-Farid in Saudi Arabia taken November 16, 2004.

Image for illustrative purpose. View of Qasr al-Farid in Saudi Arabia taken November 16, 2004.

REUTERS/Dominic Evans

RIYADH Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Authority is preparing to resume archaeological survey and excavation projects in various regions of the Kingdom after a hiatus of nearly one year following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The projects will be resumed in partnership with international missions from world-class universities and specialized international research centers, according to a report carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The authority has invited the departments and faculties of antiquities from Saudi universities to contribute to the survey and excavation operations over the coming period, as well as to participate with international missions in the discovery of artifacts in various regions apart from contributing to scripting the Kingdom’s cultural history.

The authority gives top priority to archaeological survey and excavation as it is a scientific means necessary to discover artifacts that the Kingdom abounds in, most of which date back to ancient historical eras linked to the beginning of the human civilization.

Saudi Arabia witnessed the participation of more than 40 international and local missions in the archeological excavation in various regions of the Kingdom during the period preceding the pandemic.

These missions presented major results that point to traces of ancient human settlements in the Arabian Peninsula, which were published in a number of scientific journals and other publications, such as the Saudi Arabian Archeology Yearbook titled ‘Atlal’, in addition to a number of specialized archaeological books and digital platforms.

The authority’s partnerships in archaeological survey and excavations covers an extensive list of missions and research teams from several premier international universities and research centers specialized in archeology.

The list includes the Universities of York and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, the National Center for Scientific Research in France, the German Institute for Middle Eastern Archeology, the Max Planck Institute and the University of Phelps in Germany, the University of Naples in Italy, the University of Vienna in Austria, the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, the University of Helsinki in Finland, the University of Kanazawa, the University of Waseda and the Motoku Katara Foundation for Desert Culture in Japan, and the National Conservation Center for Underwater Cultural Heritage in China.

These missions will return to work in 20 sites in various regions of the Kingdom with the participation of Saudi teams.

Within the framework of the authority’s cooperation with the Saudi government universities such as King Saud University, Hail University and Jazan University, Saudi archaeological missions will return to resuming their survey work in five archaeological sites.

The authority will also implement archaeological survey and excavation projects in 19 sites in different regions of the Kingdom, in addition to registering shipwreck sites in the Arabian Gulf for the first time, after the authority made a number of archaeological discoveries of underwater heritage.

The Heritage Authority and its partner missions carry out archaeological survey and excavation work by employing modern scientific methods such as remote sensing techniques and artificial intelligence, targeting the excavation of various archaeological sites that extend in their history to more than one million years from prehistoric times to the Islamic period as part of projects that will last for several years.

The authority is expected to launch new research projects in the current year in cooperation with a number of local partners, such as the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah), the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the Royal Commission for AlUla, NEOM Company, AMAALA Company and the Red Sea Development Company.

The authority will work to involve national cadres, including male and female students and researchers in the field of archeology and heritage to participate in these projects.


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