Conserving archaeological and cultural heritage is part of Vision 2030, King Salman says

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Thu, 2017-11-09 03:00

RIYADH: Conserving Saudi Arabia’s archaeological and cultural heritage is a part of Vision 2030, and the Kingdom is proud to be the birthplace of inspiration and the cradle of civilization, King Salman said on Wednesday.
In a speech delivered on the king’s behalf at the first Saudi Antiquities Forum, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh, praised a Saudi archaeological expedition that has toured 11 museums in Europe, the US, China and South Korea.
The exhibition, called Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces Through the Ages, features 466 rare archaeological pieces presenting Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and civilization.
The governor honored 140 Saudis who have donated archaeological pieces to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), revealed new archaeological locations and cooperated in maintaining the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.
He also presented the Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari awards to recipients who had best served Saudi heritage and antiquities.
It is named after Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari, the pioneer of archaeology in the Kingdom and the doyen of Saudi archaeologists. He was the first Saudi to study archaeology at the University of Leeds. Under his supervision, generations of Saudi archaeologists graduated. He led various archaeological surveys and explorations in different regions of the Kingdom for more than half a century. He was also involved in the first Saudi prospecting unit at Al-Faw village of Wadi Ad-Dawaser.
The Riyadh governor also honored groups participating in archaeological excavations in the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia holds the key to solving many mysteries of the prehistoric era due to its geographic location, which provided a gateway for early human migrations from East Africa to the ancient world’s continents,” Dr. Al-Abbas Sayed Ahmed of the University of Dongola, Sudan, told a scientific conference at the antiquities forum.
“Until recently, the Arabian Peninsula remained outside the world archaeology map due to historical circumstances that led to the scarcity of work in this field.”
Experts also discussed the depth of Saudi Arabia’s history, and referred to a collection of ancient rock carvings that reflect the evolution of human civilizations and their lifestyles.
Dr. Robin Engels, Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, said that although Saudi Arabia was the junction of ancient trade routes, only a few of the rock carvings and pictographs had been studied. “The southwestern region housed many pictographs that can help us understand ancient man’s passage to Africa,” he said.
Abdulrazzaq Al-Maamari, professor of Archaeology at King Saud University, presented a research paper in which he discussed how rock art provided evidence that ancient man crafted and used nets.
Robert G. Bednarik, the Australian prehistorian and cognitive archaeologist, said: “The carvings and drawings on rocks can be viewed and discussed using radioactive carbon and colors in order to discover the dates and information they convey.”
Dr. Majeed Khan, an archaeologist at the SCTH, presented photos of rock art found in different parts of Saudi Arabia, the most modern of which are 900 years old. They show that ancient man’s clothing was made of animal skin and not much different from that of modern man, which provides evidence that Saudi Arabia were a center for human activities in the ancient world and not merely a route for trade and convoys.
Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, an anthropologist at the University of Islamabad, spoke about how Saudi civilizations reached East Asia, and said identical rock drawings of Arab camels had been found in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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