Saudi-French excavation mission in Najran find coins dating back 1st century AD

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The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage had signed a joint cooperation agreement with the French National Center for Scientific Research and accordingly there have been several excavation works completed in the border city of Najran.

The mission’s most important results include discovering prehistoric sites like the Mundafan site which dates back to the end of the Pleistocene time period and to the beginning of the next time period, the Holocene. Fossils of animal remains, such as of deer, zebras, cows and camels, as well as stone tools, arrowheads and axes were found in the site.

Over 1,000 ancient coins, metal seals and stones with inscription of an ancient South Arabian writing has been discovered in a pottery jar by a Saudi scientific team.

This latest discovery is evidence of cultural and social prosperity of Al Okhdood.one of the most important archaeological sites, in Najran in south Saudi Arabia.

The carvings and inscriptions go back over 1,500 years and, in the process, make the ancient city of Okhdood among the richest ancient sites in the Arabian Peninsula.

Traces of ancient lakes has also been discovered by archaeologists, but they have been dried out. This proved to be of great historical importance as it shows the region was the focal point for the struggle of the ancient Arab kingdoms that were seeking to control the oasis and to benefit from its economic impact.

Another historic site is the hole that was drilled by pagan king of Humairi which dates back to the evolution of Christianity.

The hole is believed to be where people who converted to Christianity were burnt, you could see wood and fuel inside the hole.

The mission also found a burial site in Najran that dates back to the Bronze Age and discovered plenty of inscriptions and drawings on hunting, war, dancing and others.

Several inscriptions in the musnad script, known as the Ancient South Arabian script, were also found. This shows that Najran was greatly significant on the commercial path that linked South of the Arabian Peninsula with the center and the north of the peninsula. This is why the area became a target for kingdoms in the South, such as the Sabaeans and Himyarites, especially during the last three centuries before Islam.

Some Nabataean and Kufic inscriptions were also found in different sites in Najran and they date back to the first and second centuries AH.

More than 30 missions and teams are working in excavation under the supervision of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. Saudi scientists are working with scientists from the most prestigious universities and research centers from several countries such as France, Italy, the US, Japan, Germany, Britain and others.

The missions’ work has so far revealed significant results about the history of the kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula.