13 April 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

A Rock-Cut Temple and Inscriptions from the Neolithic period discovered in Saudi Arabia

In a project led by the Saudi Heritage Commission, a multinational team of archaeologists has discovered an 8,000-year-old archaeological site in the Al-Faw region using the latest technologies.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the study leveraged high-quality aerial photography; guided drone footage utilizing ground control points; a topographic survey; remote sensing, ground-penetrating radar; laser scanning; and geophysical survey, as well as extensive walkover surveys and sondages throughout the site.

Al-Faw, the former capital of the Kingdom of Kindah, is located on the outskirts of Al-Rub’ Al-Khali (the Empty Quarter), 100 kilometers south of Wadi Al-Dawasir on the modern highway connecting Wadi Al-Dawasir and Najran.

In the fifth and sixth centuries, a group of nomadic tribes from north and central Arabia formed the Kindah Kingdom. It is regarded as the first nomadic Arabian kingdom in history.

A team of archaeologists from Saudi Arabia and around the world have discovered new archaeological sites in the Al-Faw Archaeological Area. Photo: Asharq Al-Awsat

The research uncovered a number of finds, including the remains of a stone temple and parts of an altar, where Al-Faw locals would practice their rituals and ceremonies.

The stone temple, which is rock-cut, is perched on the edge of Mount Tuwaiq on the east of Al-Faw.

Moreover, archaeologists revealed the remains of Neolithic human settlements dating back to the Neolithic era and more than 2,807 graves of different periods dotted throughout the site, which have been documented and classified into six groups.

Numerous ancient inscriptions that provide insight into the community’s religious beliefs have also been uncovered by archaeologists. Among these is the inscription in the Jabal Lahaq sanctuary addressed to the god Kahal, the deity of Al-Faw.

The inscription indicates a relationship between the cities of Al-Faw and Al-Jarh, and most importantly is attributed to a family from the city of Al-Jarha, it also referred to the ancient name of the place where the sanctuary was built (Mount Tuwaiq).

Rock drawings found etched on Tuwaiq Mountain depict daily activities, including hunting, traveling, and fighting. Photo: SPA

Given Al-Faw’s location on the ancient trade route, their relationship with Al-Jarh is most likely commercial considering. It may also imply either religious tolerance between residents of the two cities, or the worship of Al-Faw’s deity, Kahal, by some of the residents of Al-Jarha.

Though Al-Jarha was recognized for its richness and economic might, its exact location is unknown, and numerous scholars identify it with the site of Thaj.

The discovery offers valuable data regarding the geographical distribution of Al-Faw’s sanctuaries and reveals the foundations of four monumental buildings, some with corner towers. Their architecture, internal plans, and open-air courtyards suggest their use as resting places for trade caravans.

Other finds opened up the possibility of the existence of a number of complexes. A complex irrigation system was found that had canals and water cisterns. There were hundreds of pits dug to direct rainwater to the agricultural fields, providing an explanation for how local residents countered the harsh, arid climate.

More significantly, the findings at the Al-Faw site demonstrate that a culture of temples, rituals, and idol worship predated the monolithic, non-idol worshipers, anti-temple practices of Islam that exist there today. These findings may also challenge the widely accepted premise that the Islamic conquest civilized the desert people of Arabia.

Related Articles

Hebrew University Archaeologists have Unveiled 7,000-year-old Seal İmpressions

10 June 2021

10 June 2021

Israeli archaeologists unveiled a 7,000-year-old clay seal impression used for commerce and protection of property, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem...

The Colossal Nordic Bronze Age Hall Unearthed in Germany May Be the Legendary King Hinz Meeting Hall

5 November 2023

5 November 2023 2

A colossal hall from the Bronze Age was discovered during excavations near the “royal grave” of Seddin (Prignitz district) northwest...

Roman Wooden Cellar Found in Frankfurt, Germany

28 February 2024

28 February 2024

Archaeologists from the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum have recently uncovered a remarkably preserved wooden cellar in the Roman city of Nida...

Hima, a rock art site in Saudi Arabia, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

24 July 2021

24 July 2021

The rock art site Hima in Najran has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, becoming the sixth registered...

7 Gold Pendants Found Buried by Ancient Scandinavian Elites as a Sacrifice to the Gods

13 May 2021

13 May 2021

7 gold necklaces were found in a field near the Norwegian municipality of Østfold County Rade. Researchers believe that these...

Urartian King Argishti’s shield reveals the name of an unknown country

30 January 2023

30 January 2023

The inscription on a bronze shield purchased by the Rezan Has Museum revealed the name of an unknown country. It...

A Roman sarcophagus bearing the title of “Emperor’s Protector” was found for the first time in Anatolia

29 April 2022

29 April 2022

A sarcophagus carrying the title of “Emperor’s protector” was discovered in the province of Kocaeli in western Turkey. With the...

Botanical Findings Analysis from Biblical area of Goliath sheds Unprecedented Light on Philistine Ritual Practices

27 February 2024

27 February 2024

Bar-Ilan University researchers shed “unprecedented light” on Philistine ritual practices, such as the use of psychoactive and medicinal plants, by...

The 1,800-year-old ‘Iron Legion’ Roman Legionary Base uncovered at the foot of Tel Megiddo

14 February 2024

14 February 2024

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced that a recent excavation at the foot of Tel Megiddo, near the ancient village...

Remains of a 5-year-old girl found under Real Alcázar in Spain

9 May 2021

9 May 2021

The body of a five-year-old fair-haired girl who lived in the late Middle Ages and was most likely of noble...

A Roman statue of the sea god Triton discovered near A2, London Road

13 September 2023

13 September 2023

Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman Statue of Triton during excavations in preparation for a housing development in Kent, England. Archaeologists...

The excavations in ancient city of Aizanoi discovered the statue heads of Dionysus and Aphrodite

11 December 2023

11 December 2023

The heads of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and Dionysus, the god of wine, were found in Aizanoi,...

500-year-old Ottoman bath revived after years of restoration

5 April 2024

5 April 2024

The 500-year-old Zeyrek Çinili Hammam, a masterpiece of Mimar Sinan and one of the most important examples of Ottoman Bath...

Roman Canal and Road Uncovered in The Netherlands near UNESCO heritage sites

30 July 2021

30 July 2021

Dutch archaeologists that a canal and gravel road thought to have been built and used by the Roman military have...

A new temple was discovered in the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon

17 August 2022

17 August 2022

Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reports that archaeologists have discovered a new temple at Perperikon. Perperikon, an archaeological complex located at...