In recent years, the field of archaeology has gained significant momentum in Saudi Arabia, thanks to the support from foreign missions and the Saudi Heritage Commission. As a result, the Kingdom is now revealing groundbreaking discoveries and hidden treasures from its rich history.
While King Saud University has long been involved in archaeological excavations and research, the heightened awareness of past and present work is what sets the current archaeological climate apart. Hassa Marwaan Al-Sudairy, a Riyadh-based archaeologist, emphasized the importance of these findings and the many yet-to-be-discovered treasures that lie beneath Saudi Arabia’s soil.
One such hidden gem is Dumat Al-Jandal, the ancient capital of the Qedar Kingdom, dating back to 740 BC. Located in the Al-Jouf region, this city was ruled by Arab Queens Zabibe and Samsi and was home to Assyrian, Nabatean, and Islamic civilizations. Al-Sudairy believes that more than 70% of Saudi Arabia’s antiquities have not yet been uncovered, given the numerous traces of migrating people, civilizations, kingdoms, and trade routes that existed in the region throughout history.
To learn more about its ancient past, Saudi Arabia is employing various methods, including helicopter aerial surveys, ground surveys, and excavations. Collaborating with other nations in archaeological projects has proven fruitful, as it fosters a mutual commitment to historical preservation and knowledge-sharing. These projects have been instrumental in shedding light on the centuries-old history of the Kingdom.
A recent example of this international cooperation is the underwater survey project in the Red Sea, launched by the Saudi Heritage Commission in partnership with King Abdulaziz University and the University of Naples in Italy. Al-Sudairy has found working with other nations highly rewarding, as it facilitates cultural exchange and allows for different perspectives to enrich the field.
With the right resources, Saudi Arabia is poised to become a global leader in archaeology. Al-Sudairy, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Jordan and a master’s degree in tourism from Berlin School of Business and Innovation, is passionate about protecting the treasures left behind by our ancestors. She has participated in numerous excavations and prepared research papers for international missions in Jordan.
In an effort to make archaeology more accessible and enjoyable for readers, Al-Sudairy recently published a study titled “Winter at Tantora in AlUla.” This research highlights the importance of tourism and hospitality sectors in the context of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. By 2030, AlUla aims to attract two million tourists and create 38,000 new job opportunities for locals.