TABUK: New archeological discoveries may have been uncovered in Taima after excavations took place recently, according to Dr. Ali Ibrahim Al-Gabban, Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).
He said Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, the SCTA Chairman, visited the site and was briefed on the new discoveries. Verification is now taking place before the full results are made known publicly.
He said the new discoveries will be the latest finds in Taima, following the discovery of a trade route between Taima and Egypt and what is believed to be the first-ever ancient Egyptian royal artifact to be unearthed in Saudi Arabia.
The discovery last year was of a rock engraving with a dual cartouche of Pharaoh Ramses III, which was found in the northern town of Tabuk at the Taima Oasis, 400 kilometers from Madina.
A Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, Ramses ruled from 1185 to 1153 BC.
Al-Gabban said the new discoveries were made during routine excavations carried out as part of the SCTA’s archeological surveys on several sites in the Kingdom.
He said Taima is the largest archeological site in the Kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula and that the remains of the ancient walls reveal that habitation of the oasis can be dated to the Bronze Age.
Taima is mentioned in ancient texts dating from the eighth century BC. An excavator recently found the royal complex of the last King of Babylon, Nabonidus, who spent 10 years in Taima. Last year they also discovered a fragment of cuneiform text of Nabonidus.
He said the initial studies have uncovered evidence that the direct trade route used during the reign of Ramses III connected Taima to the Nile Valley.
Both Taima and the neighboring oasis, Madyan, were famous for their excellent incense, copper, gold and silver which were in demand in ancient Egypt for religious ceremonies and for the production of jewelry and funeral objects.
Discovering the route will be a turning point in the study of the routes between Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Gabban said.
He said he expects more cartouches of Ramses and other Egyptian rulers to be discovered, especially along the section from Al-Hasmi to Taima.
He said some ancient Egyptian relics have been found at a number of archeological sites in Saudi Arabia. Among them are the burial sites in southern Dhahran in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province and in Al-Fau, capital of the Kindah Kingdom in the southwestern part of the Najd Plateau. In Taima itself, Al-Gabbon said, most of these pieces are pottery and ceramics with a turquoise coating dating back to various periods of antiquity.
– SPA/Saudi Gazette