On the outskirts of Tabuk region, an international Saudi Arabian team found evidence of migrations to the Arabian Peninsula dating back more than 120,000 years in the Nefud desert. Evidence found indicates the discovery of the oldest human and animal footprints in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
New research published by Science Advances confirms that scientists who conducted the archaeological survey found evidence of migrations along the shore of an ancient lake in today’s northern Saudi Arabia. These scientific findings highlight human reliance on animals to populate the region.
The Saudi Arabian Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah announced at an international press conference that this archeological discovery is “an indication of the Kingdom’s ancient history and civilization, as it reveals human migration and settlement across the Arabian Peninsula at a time when current deserts were fertile farmlands.”
The published scientific research revealed finding fossilized footprints pressed into a parched sediment of an ancient lake in the Nefud desert. The footprints found not only belong to humans, but also to other animals such as horses and elephants, which indicates the presence of humans and their reliance on animals for transportation or hunting in the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabian scientists and international expeditions announced that this discovery indicates the migration of Homo sapiens from Africa to the Levant. They also added that the journeying of humans and large mammals and the modes of using natural resources were due to drought and water scarcity. This major discovery is proof to the whole world that the Saudi Ministry of Culture and the Heritage Commission is sparing no effort and that it encourages foreign expeditions to explore many archeological regions located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
I was having a conversation with prominent American director Leslie Greif, with whom I have worked on producing several archaeological television series, such as the internationally recognized “Chasing Mummies,” and he told me that discoveries in Saudi territories could excite the whole world and have the potential of revealing the Kingdom’s pre-Islamic history.
This article was originally published in and translated from Asharq al-Awsat.