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Mosque from Early Islam Discovered in Saudi Arabia - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Mosque from Early Islam Discovered in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh-Antiquities found in Al-Kharj in Saudi Arabia highlight an important civilization back to the Stone Age. Therefore, the joint French-Saudi mission for archeological exploration maintains its works in a number of governorates mainly Al-Yamamah site to reveal the history of the region and the old civilizations that settled in it.

The mission that has 18 members of Saudi and French scientists and experts in archeological excavation has discovered at the Yamamah site in Kharj many architectural antiquities of a huge mosque that existed in the early Islamic era in between first and fifth centuries hegira. The mosque was composed of three roofed halls, two mihrabs, and open body hall. There are indicators that it may be the third biggest mosque in the Arabian Peninsula after the two holy mosques.

The survey made by the mission also comprised Bana settlement in addition to five other Islamic sites distributed on many areas lining between Riyadh and al-Dawasir valley.

The Old Stone Age
Results of exploration process have shown many sites that refer to the Old Stone Age for the first time in this region. Fractions of old pottery and glassy utensils were also discovered.

These utensils are likely to be from the Abbasside era and may have been used in the last phase before Islam and till the fifth century hegira.

Researchers found antiquities that refer to early Islam like pottery utensils and a bunch of bracelets made of glass paste.

At Ain al-Delai site in the western side of Kharj, archeologists have found 5,000-year-old traces of human settlement that may refer to the first millennium B.C., in addition to a 56-centimeter-long silver sword.
The mission also discovered a number of old farms and architectural establishments that go back to the fifth century hegira.

Mawan Mountain and Ain Farzan
The mission of archeologists moved to the mountains surrounding Kharj to implement a filed survey for sites from the Stone Age. The area included Mawan Valley and Ain Farzan, where they discovered sites that refer to the old Stone Age.

The mission will continue its work this year looking for sites from the Bronze Age in Ain Al-Delai region to complete the work that begun in 2013, along with the excavation process in the newly discovered mosque.

The Saudi-French mission is working according to the agreement inked between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the French authorities in September 2011.

His Royal Highness Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, the chairman of the Saudi authority, recently met with the Saudi-French team which is carrying out the archeological excavation work at the Yamamah historical site in Kharj. His Highness praised the efforts of the mission aiming at offering the Saudi people the opportunity to learn more about their country’s heritage and the old civilizations that settled in it before them.

Dr. Abdulaziz al-Ghazi, archeology professor at King Saud’s University and head of the Saudi team in the mission, considered that this mission is the first-of-its-kind in the country and that its work will continue over the next five years, which will pave way to the discovery of more sites.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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