PUBLISHED: 20:30, Wed, Nov 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 20:32, Wed, Nov 4, 2020
The desert city AlUla is located in a fertile oasis valley that has welcomed civilisations for more than 200,000 years. AlUla is best known among archaeological circles for Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage, the Nabataean tombs of Hegra.
However, more than 27,000 other sites of archaeological interest have also been identified within its borders, while many more are certain to be discovered in the coming months.
We’re now learning that AlUla was more than just a place to transit
Dr Rebecca Foote
Dr Rebecca Foote, Director of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research (RCU) at the Royal Commission for AlUla, said: “Northwestern Arabia has often been overlooked as a place of cultural and civilisational importance in and of itself.
“For many years, its importance has been eclipsed by the nearby Fertile Crescent, riverine Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and the marine civilisations along the Red Sea. AlUla was seen as just a region people passed through.
“However, we’re now learning that AlUla was more than just a place to transit, it was a true nexus and a home for complex communities across thousands of years.”
Archaeologists and other specialists are increasingly attracted to AlUla as it is one of area's few remaining areas yet to be properly explored.
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Archaeology news: New AlUla discoveries are filling-in ‘missing links’ in Saudi Arabia’s history (Image: Getty)
Archaeology news: The Old town of Al-Ula (Image: Getty)
Thanks to the recent work of international universities and research institutes, this jewel in the heritage crown of Saudi Arabia is beginning to fill in the missing links of the region's development and the generations that have crossed it.
RCU’s discoveries have established how prehistoric peoples of AlUla hunted and grazed in AlUla when it was a significantly more fertile land than now.
Combining cutting-edge satellite imagery with ground survey and old-fashioned digging, archaeologists have been left dumbfounded by the sheer quantity of stone structures built in the late prehistoric period (5200 to 1200 BC).