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HomeIn focusInside ArabiaThe long-awaited archeological season in AlUla started

The long-awaited archeological season in AlUla started

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The highly anticipated archaeology season in AlUla has officially begun, marking the commencement of an intensive period of exploration and discovery. With 12 archaeological missions currently underway from October to December 2023, this region in north-west Arabia has become a hub for some of the most significant research projects in the world. The work will continue with additional archaeological missions planned in winter and spring 2024.

The fall 2023 archaeology season in AlUla boasts a remarkable international gathering of more than 200 archaeologists and related cultural heritage specialists, representing more than 10 nations including experts from Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA. Many of the projects are a continuation of ongoing research, which also has involved the training and mentoring of more than 100 archaeology students from Saudi Arabia.

The 12 teams have now converged in AlUla to unravel the mysteries of its rich cultural heritage and to study all eras of the region’s past, including prehistory, the ancient kingdoms of Dadan, Lihyan and the Nabataeans, and the pre-Islamic and Islamic eras.

The scale and scope of the activity taking place in AlUla constitute one of the world’s largest concentrations of archaeological research and conservation. Research topics range from the multidisciplinary excavation and survey of ancient Dadan to the geophysical survey and excavation of the early Islamic city of Qurh, south of AlUla. Another research project will focus on excavations of various funerary, ritual and settlement sites of the prehistoric period in AlUla and Khaybar. There will also be multidisciplinary studies of bio-archaeology, palaeobotany, archaeoastronomy and other non-traditional subjects to provide a richer understanding of the peoples who have inhabited the region.

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AlUla Old Town_Excavation_MuDUD Project

“The diverse range of expertise and interdisciplinary collaboration ensures a comprehensive exploration of AlUla’s historical significance,” said Dr Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, RCU’s executive director of Archaeology, Conservation and Collections. “Archaeology season in AlUla serves as a platform to showcase the region’s remarkable cultural heritage. We not only celebrate the work of these teams, but also the immense value of the ongoing excavations, research, and conservation projects to Saudi Arabia and the world.”

The Royal Commission for AlUla remains committed to conserving AlUla’s cultural heritage and sharing its historical significance with the rest of the world. The latest discoveries from the field will be shared as the archaeology season unfolds.

Contact information

For media enquiries, please contact publicrelations@rcu.gov.sa

AlUla World Archaeology Summit

AlUla’s position as a hub of archaeological activity has continued to expand as RCU recently hosted the inaugural AlUla World Archaeology Summit from Sept 13-15, 2023. The Summit was a platform for advancing archaeology and cultural heritage management in their interface with other disciplines. More than 300 delegates from 39 countries participated in the Summit, including leaders from academia, government, non-government organisations, industry, and more than 50 young people representing the next generation of archaeologists. For more information, see https://www.worldarchaeologysummit.com.

About the Royal Commission for AlUla

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.

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