Former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Dr. Zahi Hawass announced that excavation work will begin in November at the site of King Ramesses III in North Saudi Arabia, indicating that he will head an archaeological team to uncover facts concerning pharaohs in the kingdom, as well as the state of trade missions between the two countries over 3,000 years ago.
In a press statement on Thursday, the official revealed that he held a meeting with Jasir Al-Herbish, CEO of the Saudi Heritage Commission, to discuss the steps needed to initiate work on excavations, implementing several other projects on Saudi heritage, and filming a series of documentaries on the kingdom’s antiquities.
In 2010, the Saudi Kingdom announced the discovery of a rock near Tayma bearing an inscription of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses III, saying it was the first confirmed discovery of a hieroglyphic inscription on Saudi soil.
At that time, Hawass, who had been the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, suggested that “the two countries cooperate to uncover the Pharaonic presence in the Arabian Peninsula.” He reiterated his offer in an article he published at the end of 2019.
In statements to Asharq al-Awsat, Hawass clarified that “the discovery of artifacts linked to Ramesses III in Saudi Arabia came as no surprise, especially since King Ramesses III sent merchants to acquire copper from a nearby region (which he believes to be Saudi Arabia). Thus, there is a strong chance of Egyptian artifacts in the Arabian Peninsula."
“The excavations have not commenced yet, and when we begin, we will find out what can be discovered based on historical evidence surrounding the area.”
He also said that “the excavations in the kingdom revealed a trade route that links the two countries that had been used in earlier centuries, which opens the door to the possibility of finding new remains and evidence of Egyptian Kings having sent trade missions to the kingdom more than 3,000 years ago.”
There are about 46 archaeological sites in Tayma and various monuments, some around 500,000 years old, including fossils of extinct beings and remains of prehistoric civilizations, as the city had been among the most prominent cities on the trade route between Egypt and Mesopotamia.