180-day survey and archaeological excavation to begin in Soudah

January 07, 2022

Saudi Gazette report

The Saudi Heritage Authority (SHA) has concluded a joint work agreement with the Soudah Development Company (SDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), to implement an archaeological survey project under the Soudah Development Project in the southern Asir region.

The project of surveying and archaeological excavation will be carried out over four successive phases during a span of 180 days.

Soudah Development Company CEO Eng. Husameddin Al-Madani and Saudi Heritage Authority CEO Dr. Jasser Al-Harbash signed the agreement that aims to develop and protect the national heritage and archaeological sites and managing them effectively, in addition to strengthening its partnership with government and private agencies.

The joint program between SHA and SDC comes within the framework of supporting efforts related to heritage and antiquities in all regions of the Kingdom. As per the agreement, SDC will provide the financing and logistical services necessary for the survey and archaeological excavation, while SHA undertakes the technical work of surveying and archaeological and heritage excavations in the region.

Speaking on the occasion, Al-Madani said SDC is working to support and enhance all possibilities and businesses, whose role is to highlight the importance of the region and achieve the project’s goals to attract two million visitors throughout the year by 2030.

On his part, Al-Harbash said the agreement aims to organize joint work between the two entities in implementing the archaeological survey project within the geographical scope of the Soudah project. This will be through creation of joint working teams throughout the project’s implementation plan, as it includes multiple and comprehensive phases of survey work and archaeological excavation in the target area.

According to the agreement, the process of implementing the archaeological survey and excavation project within the scope of SDC has been divided into four successive phases. The first phase is concerned with presenting the project implementation plan and its human, technical and financial requirements, while information, data, maps, and photos related to archaeological and heritage sites will be collected and counted within the geographical scope of the area during the second phase.

The third phase is concerned with carrying out comprehensive archaeological and documentary survey of the elements of cultural heritage such as archaeological sites, buildings and urban heritage sites within the geographical scope of the Soudah project. In the fourth and final phase, archaeological excavations will be carried out in a specific number of archaeological sites based on the outcome of the scientific project of the archaeological survey in the previous phase.

The joint work program for Soudah development will enhance the region’s tourist status and add more attractions with facilitating the presentation of models of the artifacts that have been discovered, and the display of some archaeological assets on some important occasions, in coordination with the Heritage Authority.

It is noteworthy that Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman announced the launch of Soudah Development Company in the Asir region in February 2021 with the aim of developing Soudah as a luxury mountain destination with pumping SR11 billion into infrastructure and tourism projects

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