More news of archeological discoveries in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Gazette runs a release from the official Saudi Press Agency reporting on finds in the area around Al-Kharj, south of Riyadh in the center of the country. The discoveries include an early mosque, but also Stone Age materials dating back over 100,000 years.
It seems pretty clear that it is official Saudi policy to respect earlier civilizations and cultures, though Islamic era materials might get the most publicity.
RIYADH — Prince Sattam Bin Abdul Aziz, Emir of Riyadh region, has welcomed the latest archeological excavations and discoveries in Al-Kharj, some of which may be 100,000 years old. “These discoveries show the historical importance of the region.”
He thanked Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), for the work of the Saudi-French team in Al-Kharj. The Saudi-French team had discovered the mosque in Yamama, which was built at the beginning of the Islamic era or possibly the Ummayad and Abbassid eras.
It was possibly the largest mosque in the Arabian Peninsula, about the size of the Two Holy Mosques at the time.
The mosque has huge circular pillars and used to have three arch-shaped corridors. It also has a semicircular niche (mihrab) and remnants of what used to be a minaret.
The preliminary results of the work done by the team at other sites revealed that some date back to the Stone Age. This is the first time such sites have been discovered in Al-Kharj. These sites may date back over 100,000 years.
Broken pieces of pots and other items were found at some sites which indicate that they date back to the Abbassid era or the late pre-Islamic period. – SG/SPA