JEDDAH: Since its inception, Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Commission has worked on strategic projects to protect the Kingdom’s national heritage and achieve the ambitious goals of Vision 2030.
The programs will promote culture as a way of life, enabling it to contribute to economic growth through 150 projects and education through the Cultural Scholarship program.
Recently, the commission organized a virtual forum titled “Archaeological Discoveries in Saudi Arabia” under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture and chairman of the Heritage Commission.
Several archaeology specialists took part and highlighted discoveries made in the Kingdom, raising awareness of the rich and diverse heritage of Saudi Arabia.
By providing an open platform for the public in which experts and participants can learn about the Kingdom’s position in history, the forum aims to exchange expertise on the results of archaeological excavation projects implemented by the commission.
In 2021, it established the National Antiquities Register to record, manage and preserve archaeological and historic sites in the Kingdom. There were 624 new archaeological and historic sites recorded this year, with more than 8,000 locations registered so far.
Dr. Jasir Al-Herbish, CEO of the commission, said that the new archaeological sites include 38 in Makkah, five in Madinah, 48 in Hail, 54 in Jouf, 52 in Asir, 35 in Tabuk, four in the Northern Borders region, 342 in Riyadh, 25 in the Eastern Province, 18 in Qassim and three in Jazan.
Dr. Saad Abdulaziz Al-Rashed, member of the board of trustees of the Saudi National Museum, told Arab News that the ministry has been adopting several measures to develop the sector.
“Saudi Arabia is focusing on developing new specialized museums, focusing on archaeological discoveries involving Saudi competencies and experts from research centers that have experience in dealing with antiquities and heritage,” he said.
The forum included presentations of scientific papers on archaeological discoveries around the Kingdom, “covering prehistoric archeology, Islamic re-archeology, rock art, art and architecture, pilgrimage and trade routes, ancient and Islamic writings, archaeology of pre-Islamic Arabia and underwater cultural heritage,” as reported by the commission.
According to Al-Rashed, the archaeological excavation project discussed during the forum is the result of years of work in several different projects across the Kingdom.
It comes as part of efforts to advance the commission’s vision to preserve the heritage of Saudi Arabia as a cultural treasure for future generations.
“When we look at Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals, we find it puts great emphasis on taking care of the heritage and cultural aspects of the Kingdom. The Ministry of Culture adopted 16 programs under its umbrella to develop the cultural sector. If we look at the 16 programs, we find the National Museum, archaeological sites and other museums, in which many of the components of the different sectors are derived from cultural heritage,” said Al-Rashed.