Secrets of Dadan

By Zahi Hawas

It seems that we are on the threshold of a new era of archaeological work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is witnessing a comprehensive renaissance, in an accelerating manner in the organization and development of archaeological work, and attention to everything that belongs to the heritage of the Arabian Peninsula.

There is still a lot of information that only specialists know about the treasures of the Kingdom from ancient antiquities, and therefore there is still an urgent need to film a number of programs and documentaries about the treasures of the Kingdom through international television networks so that the world knows an important part of the human heritage.

Recently, a very important study came before me. It came out in the form of a huge book written by 14 specialized researchers from the Department of Archeology at the College of Tourism and Archeology at King Saud University.

The book was published under the title “Archaeological Treasures from Dadan… Results of the Excavations of the First Seven Seasons.” It is one of the publications of the Saudi Society for Archaeological Studies, and its honorary president is Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The book was edited by Dr. Saeed bin Fayez Al-Saeed, Dean of the King Abdullah Institute for Studies and Research, and Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saud Al-Ghazi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Society for Archaeological Studies.

From its title, the book appears to contain the scientific publication of 7 seasons of archaeological work at the site of Dadan, which was carried out by an archaeological mission from the Department of Archeology at King Saud University; It came out in the form of 11 scientific articles published in the book.

But by browsing the titles of the scientific articles published in the book, we find them revealing the secrets of an ancient part of the civilization of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, so even the non-specialist reader will find pleasure in reading this important book.

I learned through my follow-up to cultural news bulletins that the book had won the King Abdulaziz Book Award in its first session in the field of antiquities. We will dedicate, God willing, a series of articles to introduce a small part of what was revealed by the scientific research published in this book, whose fields varied between research on the geography of the place and urban activity in Dadan; and another about the pottery industries, and an article about stone utensils, and a research documenting the scientific restoration work on the site, and a search for architecture, and another about the censers, and a search for the palace in the city of Dadan.

Dadan, for those who do not know, is an ancient kingdom that was established in the past in western Saudi Arabia, and includes the regions of Dadan, Tayma and Jabal Ikma. The kingdom of Dadan, also known as Lihyan, appeared before 700 BC, and lasted about 9 centuries, during which it witnessed periods of upsurge of civilization, progress and periods of decline and decline, like all human civilizations.

Dadan professionalized agriculture and herding, but the fame of its inhabitants came from trade, and they did not have many products to trade with, but they worked as an important mediator in the transfer of trade from the south of the Arabian Peninsula to Egypt and Greece through intermediate trading stations.

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