The Echo of Caravans: Pre-Islamic Civilization Sites in Saudi Arabia’ exhibition in Sharjah Archaeology Museum

Sharjah, 18 October, 2018: His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, The president of Saudi commission for Tourism &National Heritage has inaugurated the ‘The Echo of Caravans: Pre-Islamic Civilization Sites in Saudi Arabia’ exhibition in Sharjah Archaeology Museum.

Opening Wednesday, the showcase stems from a collaborative partnership between Sharjah Museums Authority and Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. The exhibition will run at Sharjah Archaeology Museum until January 31, 2019.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and His Highness the Amir toured various sections of the historic exhibition, discovered in the Saudi Arabia Kingdom history, for the first time to the public and reveals the deep historical ties and traditions and customs common to the people of the Arabian Peninsula.

His Highness Ruler of Sharjah said in a speech, “We welcome His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who has honoured us with his knowledge and culture. In the history of the region in ancient times, in these moments, I have benefited a lot, and I hope to study everything that came in this exhibition from a historical point of view.”

His Highness added that: “I am very happy on this day, what I saw, what I will see, and I wish success to the employees in this field, including His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz. We wish him success in this field. To keep pace with this match, which lasted more than 10 years.”

Featuring a total of 50 unique archeological artefacts on display for the first time, the exhibit reveals the cultural similarities, close societal bonds and shared customs and ideas that existed between the ancient communities of Arabia.

Through a complex and busy network of trade routes that crisscrossed the peninsula, people living in towns and villages throughout Arabia were able to communicate, barter and trade while also sharing knowledge of the latest tools as well as other tradable goods. This interaction took place long before the advent of currencies, coinage or transactions for monetary gain.

‘The Echo of Caravans: Pre-Islamic Civilization Sites in Saudi Arabia’ is a rare opportunity for members of the public to engage with artefacts from Saudi Arabia.

The 50 pieces from Saudi Arabia were discovered at three locations; the cities of Najran, Al Ula, and Tayma.

Each city was an important stopping-off point for travelers and traders leading caravans of camels loaded with frankincense, pottery and a host of other commodities across the Arabian Peninsula.

Caravans would visit Najran, in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, while on the road to the important trade hub of Al Ula, with Tayma an important location to stop for travelers headed to Mesopotamia.

A total of 6 wonderfully preserved artefacts from Sharjah Archaeology Museum’s collection are displayed alongside objects from Saudi Arabia in ‘The Echo of Caravans: Pre-Islamic Civilization Sites in Saudi Arabia’.

Dating from the period of 1600 BC to 300AD, these artefacts were found at archaeological sites in Mleiha, Muwaileh and Jabal Al Buhais.

When displayed side by side, the artefacts from Saudi Arabia and Sharjah clearly reveal that the people who lived across the peninsula shared a variety of similar customs, behaviors, and lifestyles and traded in a variety of valuable objects including jewellery and more everyday goods such as cooking pots and lamps.

Visitors to ‘The Echo of Caravans’ will also experience small bronze statues of goats and camels, a sandstone altar with a bull’s head carved on one side, a bronze door key, incense burners, small busts and statues and a variety of ceramics.

Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “‘The Echo of Caravans: Pre-Islamic Civilization Sites in Saudi Arabia’ paints a vivid picture of the ancient history of the Arabian Peninsula by closely examining the artefacts that were important to the people, cultures and communities who lived here.

“Despite the harshness of the environment and distances navigated, a vibrant and interconnected society flourished. The superb collection of the rare artefacts on display reveal a remarkable level of sophistication and craftsmanship and a thriving trade network that facilitated shared culture and knowledge.”

The event was attended by Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, and His Excellency Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, Chairman of the Department of Culture, His Excellency Ali Al Marri, Head of Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies, and His Excellency Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation, His Excellency Khalid Bin Butti Al Hajri, Director General of the University City in Sharjah, Her Exellency Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, The Charge d’Affaires of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Saud bin Fahd Al-Suwailem, His Excellency Abdulrahman Ali Al Jarwan, and a number of representatives of scientific and heritage bodies and institutions.

President for Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage was seen off at Sharjah Airport Sheikh Khalid bin Issam Al Qassimi, Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation, Sheikh Faisal bin Saud Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah International Airport Authority, Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah Al Thani, Director of the Department of Civil Aviation in Sharjah, His Excellency Ali Salem Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah International Airport Authority and His Excellency Mohammed Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Director of the Sharjah Department of Protocol and Guesthouses.

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