Archaeologists in Saudi Arabia excavate forgotten kingdoms

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A French archaeologist and his co-workers cautiously cleanable the pottery to analyse the findings known to beryllium from Dadan and Lihyan civilisation dated backmost to the 2nd fractional of the archetypal millennium BC, successful Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia October 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

AL ULA, Saudi Arabia, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Amid the arid godforsaken and mountains of Al Ula successful northwest Saudi Arabia, archaeologists are moving to excavate the remnants of the past and long-forgotten kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan.

Al Ula, a flagship tourer destination since it opened successful 2019, is known chiefly for the majestic tombs of Madain Saleh, a 2,000-year-old metropolis carved into rocks by the Nabateans, the pre-Islamic Arab radical who besides built Petra successful neighbouring Jordan.

A squad of French and Saudi archaeologists is present focused connected excavating 5 adjacent sites related to the Dadanite and Lihyanite civilisations, important determination powers that flourished 2,000 years ago.

"It's a task that truly tries to unlock the mysteries of (these) civilisations," said Abdulrahman Al-Sohaibani, who is co-directing the Dadan archaeological mission.

Dadan is mentioned successful the Old Testament and the Lihyanite kingdom was 1 of the largest of its time, stretching from Medina successful the southbound to Aqaba successful the northbound successful modern-day Jordan, according to the Royal Commission for the project.

Spanning astir 900 years until 100 CE, the kingdoms controlled captious commercialized routes but precise small is known astir them. The squad is hoping to larn much astir their worship rituals, societal beingness and economy.

Previous excavations had been constricted to the main sanctuary area, said Jerome Rohmer, a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research.

"We would conscionable similar person a broad overview of the chronology of the site, the layout of the site, its worldly culture, its economy," Rohmer added.

"It's a broad task wherever we're fundamentally trying to reply each of these questions."

In Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's propulsion to alteration Saudi Arabia's system and society, Al-Ula has gained prominence. The kingdom is banking connected tourism arsenic it tries to unfastened up to the satellite and diversify its system distant from oil.

Al-Ula's improvement is portion of a determination to sphere pre-Islamic practice sites successful bid to pull non-Muslim tourists and fortify nationalist identity.

Reporting by Mohammed Benmansour; penning by Raya Jalabi, editing by Ed Osmond

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