Researchers study ancient kingdoms of Saudi Arabia
In northwestern Saudi Arabia, archaeologists are working to unearth the remains of the ancient and long forgotten kingdoms by Dadan and Lihyan.
The remains of these kingdoms are found in Al Ula, a place known mainly for the tombs 2000-year-old Madain Saleh carved in the rocks by the Nabataeans. The Nabataeans were a pre-Islamic Arab people who also built Petra in Jordan.
A team of French and Saudi archaeologists is currently digging in five neighboring areas linked to the Dadanite and Lihyanite civilizations. They were major powers around 2,000 years ago.
Abdulrahman Al-Sohaibani co-directs the archaeological mission of Dadan. He said: “This is a project that really tries to unravel the mysteries of (these) civilizations.” In this case, unlock is a term that means discovering something that was unknown.
The Royal Commission for the project notes that Dadan appears in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Lihyanite kingdom was one of the greatest of its time. He went from Medina in the south to Aqaba in the north.
For nearly 900 years, the two kingdoms controlled an important trade routes. But very little is known about them. The team hopes to learn more about their religion, social life and economy.
Jérôme Rohmer is a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research. Rohmer noted that previous excavations had been limited to a smaller area around the graves. He added that the researchers would like to make a more complete study of the history of the region and “its material culture, its economy”.
In Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to change the Saudi economy and society, Al-Ula has been recognized. The kingdom is hoping for international visitors as it tries to open up to the world and to diversify its economy far from oil.
The development of Al-Ula is part of a movement towards to preserve pre-Islamic in order to attract non-Muslim tourists and strengthen national identity.
I am Dorothy Gundy.
Mohammed Benmansour reported this story to Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Words in this story
Kingdom — not. a country whose sovereign is a king or a queen
tomb – not. a building or room above or below the ground in which a dead body is kept
prune – v. make (something, like a sculpture or a drawing) by cutting pieces of the material it is made of
road — not. a means by which someone or something moves regularly
to diversify – v. change (something) so that there are more different kinds of people or things
to preserve – v. keep (something) in its original or undamaged condition