Riyadh: A group of Saudi and international archaeologists supported by the kingdom’s Heritage Commission have uncovered ancient human and animal footprints, dating back more than 120,000 years, in Tabuk, northern Saudi Arabia.
The groundbreaking discovery represents the first scientific evidence of human life on the Arabian Peninsula, providing a rare glimpse into the ancient ecosystem that existed alongside the area’s human inhabitants.
The discovery was made by the Green Arabia Project – a joint collaboration between Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, the University of Queensland in Australia, King Saud University in Riyadh, the Saudi Geological Survey and Aramco, overseen by the Heritage Commission.
The Green Arabia Project focuses on the prehistory of the Arabian Peninsula, studying the impact of the changing environment on human and animal life.
Dr Jasir Alherbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission said during a press conference, “Discoveries such as these help us to contextualise the kingdom’s history, allowing us to better understand the journey of our forebears from ancient civilization to where we are today. The kingdom boasts some of the region’s richest heritage spanning thousands of years, and this discovery demonstrates what can be learned from Saudi Arabia’s diverse landscape.”
“A team of highly qualified Saudi archaeologists and researchers worked alongside our international partners to uncover, document and preserve these previously unearthed treasures. We hope that such discoveries will inspire the next generation of Saudi historians and archaeologists, as we continue to uncover more of the kingdom’s untold history.”
The Heritage Commission is currently overseeing the conservation and restoration of a number of archaeological sites, which will eventually be open to visitors. Plans to host archaeological exhibitions locally and abroad are also underway.