Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

AlUla: Home to One of the World’s Oldest Monumental Structures

AlUla: Home to One of the World’s Oldest Monumental Structures

Friday, 30 April, 2021 - 10:45
The Kingdoms Institute will be a place of discovery, science and knowledge sharing with the local community and visitors from around the globe about the heritage and culture of the region

The Kingdoms Institute in AlUla has announced the discovery of one of the oldest monumental stone structures in the world, called mustatils, in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdoms Institute is being established as a world-class research center for archaeological and conservation research dedicated to the study of the history and prehistory of the Arabian Peninsula.

The institute will become an academic center and cultural platform for knowledge and discovery.

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, pointed out that the Kingdoms Institute represents a global research center for knowledge, exploring the frontiers of archaeology and unlocking new career opportunities for AlUla’s community.

The Kingdoms Institute, unveiled earlier this month, was established under the directions of the Royal Commission for AlUla, which has been conducting a program of extensive research about human history in the area.

The Institute will be opened to visitors in 2030, and it is estimated that it will be able to host 838,000 visitors annually by 2035.

The Kingdoms Institute’s mandate covers AlUla’s 200,000 years of human and natural history, but the research will focus more on the Dadan, Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms (1000 BCE to 106 CE).

Experts from Saudi and international institutions, such as King Saud University, UNESCO, ICOMOS, France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Germany’s Deutsches Archaologisches Institut and the University of Western Australia, will all collaborate with the Kingdoms Institute.

RCU Archaeology, Heritage Research and Conservation Executive Director Jose Revilla said: "We have only begun to tell the hidden story of the Ancient Kingdoms of North Arabia."

“There is much more to come as we reveal the depth and breadth of the area’s archaeological heritage, which for decades has been underrepresented, but which will finally have the showcase it deserves in the Kingdoms Institute.”

RCU Director of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research Rebecca Foote said that with its many research programs, AlUla is becoming the most active area of archaeological research in the Middle East, adding: “We have just completed surveying more than 22,000 sq km of terrain from the air and on the ground and recorded more than 30,000 areas of archaeological significance.”

Editor Picks