Saudi Arabia excavates ‘forgotten kingdoms’

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to excavate ‘five kingdoms’ related to Dadanite and Lihyanite civilisations.

Highlights

  • Excavation will be done by a team of French and Saudi Archaeologists.
  • They will excavate five nearby sites related to Dadanite and Lihyanite civilisations. Both of the civilisations were important regional powers, some 2000 years ago.
  • Kingdoms were spanning roughly 900 years until 100 CE. They controlled vital trade routes however, little is known about them.

Background

In the year 2019, Saudi Arabia opened a flagship tourist destination called Al Ula. It is a 2000-year-old city that have been carved into rocks by the Nabateans. It is known for majestic tombs of Madain Saleh. They were pre-Islamic Arab people and they built Petra in Jordan.

About Madain Saleh

Madain Saleh is also called as Hegra. It is an archaeological site situated in the area of Al-‘Ula in the Medina Province of Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. Majority of the remains belong to Nabataean Kingdom that existed during 1st century AD. This site is the southernmost settlement of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest city after Petra. On this site, traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation can also be found.

Is the site in UNESCO list?

UNESCO proclaimed Mada’in Saleh as a site of patrimony in the year 2008. Thus, this site is the first World Heritage Site of Saudi Arabia. It was selected for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, like 131 monumental rock-cut tombs, with their ornamented facades.

Who built Mada’in Salih?

Extensive settlement of the Madain Saleh took place during the 1st century AD, after it came under the rule of the Nabatean king Aretas IV Philopatris (Al-Harith IV). He made Mada’in Saleh the second capital of Saudi Arabia, after Petra.

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