December 1, 2023

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RIYADH: With some of Saudi Arabia’s concealed record still ready to be identified beneath the sands, the secrets and techniques of one particular ancient path are being uncovered with assist from archaeologists, one rock at a time.

The Zubaida Path, also recognized as the Kufi pilgrimage route, is a historic trail that stretches a lot more than 1,600 km from Kufa in Iraq to Makkah. The historic route was as soon as a frequent trade route in the pre-Islamic era and was later on employed by worshippers next the unfold of Islam.
Just lately, a collection of excavation web-sites have been designed on the trail, specifically in the Hail area. Archaeologists are set to uncover the elaborately engineered route that at the time served hundreds of pilgrims each individual 12 months.
The Saudi Ministry of Tourism lately gave the green mild for archaeologists from the University of Hail, together with quite a few overseas specialists, to get started exploration and excavation on sites in Fayd and Al-Bayyaith.

The university’s archaeology section has done excavations on rock engravings in the space,  and uncovered operate that dates again to the Bronze Age.

Dr. Khalil Al-Ibrahim, rector of the College of Hail, told Arab News that the Section of Tourism and Archeology at the college experienced signed a number of agreements with the Ministry of Tourism to investigate the untapped archaeological internet sites in the location.

Dr. Khalil Al-Ibrahim Rector, College of Hail

“Many of the Islamic cities and archaeological sites on the Zubaida Trail in Hail have not been explored and excavated. There is an abundance of facts and archaeological continues to be concealed underneath the area,” said Al-Ibrahim. “Different archaeological internet sites, like heritage towns, were being discovered in the past, in addition to rock engravings that date again 10,000 yrs, burial mounds, wells, rock statues, pottery, glass, minerals and currencies.”

Initial explorations and surveys have been just lately undertaken in Hail in collaboration with the Hail Region Heritage and Tourism Office environment, which signifies the ministry. The university’s section is now operating with its counterpart at King Saud College on excavation operate in the historic metropolis of Fayd. 

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Named soon after Zubaida bint Jafar Al-Mansour, the spouse of Abbasid Ruler Haroun Al-Rasheed. The Zubaida Trail operates from Kufa, Iraq to Makkah, and was a single of the crucial routes for Hajj pilgrims and traders during the Abbasid dynasty. Caliphs at the time made drinking water tanks, wells and minarets together the trail, ultimately increasing the route for pilgrims and travelers.

Senior students at the two departments are also obtaining teaching at the web-sites, Al-Ibrahim said. Several foreign archaeologists, like Australians, have expressed a want to work on the web-sites in Hail, he included.

Al-Ibrahim explained that the Saudi federal government has connected excellent significance to archaeology, and has revamped the Kingdom’s heritage law and preservation applications to preserve historic web sites.
Hail features significant archaeological web sites that date back to unique historic intervals, like the pre-Islamic age, with historic instruments, constructions, burial mounds and engravings belonging to the Thamud civilization getting found out, he added.
“I really do not exaggerate when I say that Hail’s archaeology is a lot more exclusive and distinctive than that which is observed in other regions of the Kingdom, in particular rock engravings, which are abundant and copious in Hail, and are equivalent to museums that give you a peek into historical heritage. Some of the web-sites were being registered with UNESCO, such as Jubbah and Al-Shuwaymis, which are replete with rock engravings,” Al-Ibrahim explained.
The university’s archaeology section has carried out excavations on rock engravings in the region, and uncovered operate that dates back again to the Bronze Age. The discovery is believed to be the first of its form in the Arabian Peninsula.
Nevertheless excavation operate on Fayd is in its eighth calendar year, college archaeologists lately acquired state-of-the-art gear and a laboratory to continue on checking out, examining engravings and conducting analysis in larger depth.
The Saudi govt has also set up archaeological exploration centers, and drafted guidelines to facilitate the operate of overseas authorities in the Kingdom. Much more than 20 overseas jobs are now performing in Saudi Arabia to uncover the Kingdom’s abundant historical past.
Al-Ibrahim, who earned his Ph.D. from Durham University in the British isles, reported: “Archaeology necessitates a collective energy and doing the job with foreign archaeology missions because it provides tutorial rewards to students and professors alike, encouraging them hone their expertise.
“The University of Hail is eager on offering college students a likelihood to get the job done with international archaeology missions. The department will sign shortly a collaboration agreement with the Australian archaeology mission for this function.”
“One of the needs for graduation is obtaining experience in archaeology excavations and exploration. That is why the office sends pupils for training for a complete semester at Fayd, the place they get to know about surveying, restoration, writing studies, and other skills beneath the supervision of professionals that are perfectly versed in ancient and Islamic archaeology.
“The university also enables pupils to consider aspect in teaching classes offered by international missions on exploration and excavation.”