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Seventh season of ‘Al Khuta al-Arab’ documents oldest civilization in Saudi Arabia

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In the minds of several people, that land is nothing more than sandhills and some scattered oases. However, scientific research indicates otherwise. This territory has witnessed human migrations from and through it that turned it into a hub of mankind’s activities, thoughts, and production. The Arab Peninsula is a central land for culture and communication.

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In the recent decades, there have been several exploratory missions which rejected the conventional view of the Peninsula, carrying out archaeological excavations that helped reshape the real image of the region prior to its desertification, an image dominated by humans who knew how to settle down after being wanderers, and who mastered the skills of drawing, writing, cistern-digging, refinement of mountains, and construction.

Those humans lived through intermittent eras that were governed either by prosperity, or by decline. In the first case, they founded civilizations, and in the second they emigrated elsewhere. However, even when emigrating, they preserved their knowledge and took it with them.

None of these explorations and excavations would have been possible without the vision of leaders who supported these international missions, as they support the people of this peninsula. The whole endeavor aims at unveiling the long-ignored history of humans who lived there.

Underground filming

The efforts continued to track the signs of past civilizations proceeded in a trip (which is the seventh of its kind) to document the ancient architectural history at the heart of the Arab Peninsula, both on the ground and underneath it.

Ala Khuta al-Arab. (Supplied)
Ala Khuta al-Arab. (Supplied)

In the area of Uyun Al Jawa, the team of Al Arabiya’s documentary show “Ala Khuta al-Arab,” which translates to “Retracing Arab footsteps,” descended with their equipment some five meters underground, to film artificial water streams and channels never caught by cameras before, presenting exclusive images of ancient architectural arts, where the humans managed to reshape the rocks - exploiting them to store water.

Air archaeology

To defy the flaw of time, Al Arabiya’s team sought to rediscover our ancient ancestors who had an insightful perception of death. They were terrified by human mortality and astonished by the concept of immortality, which urged them to try to evade the first and seek refuge in the second. Those were humans we knew little about until recently. They passed away, leaving behind their seeking of the heavens. They passed away with a wish for an afterlife. Hence, they constructed their sites to achieve immortality through them.

Al Arabiya’s drone cameras flew over the areas of Tuwaiq, Al Qassim, Al Hait, Khaybar and others to film gargantuan rocky forms that are isolated and mysterious. Modern studies have proven that these rocky forms are the evidence for the oldest cultural presence in Saudi Arabia, according to the Oxford Institute for Scientific Research and the Max Planck Institute for Anthropology.

There is no doubt that excavation campaigns in Saudi Arabia gave momentum to the so-called air archaeology, especially as these ancient burial places can be best appreciated through air images.

In the same vein, these sites pose the key question of how those early humans mastered the art of this complicated architecture and managed to exploit the spaces and areas there without our modern technology.

Searching for enlightenment

The presenter of “Retracing Arab footsteps” documentary Eid al-Yahya, along with Saudi, Egyptian, and Iraqi researchers have embarked on a quest for forgotten chapters in the history of mankind throughout the new season of the documentary, posing unprecedented questions about a giant human, newly discovered stone tools, and the site of Noah’s Great Flood.

The seventh season of the documentary presents daring conclusions and theories regarding the most famous flood in history, and the related controversies of its locality versus its universality, or the spot where the ark finally settled.

Ala Khuta al-Arab. (Supplied)
Ala Khuta al-Arab. (Supplied)

Stone age people of Al Hijr, and their standards

Some early humans have mastered the art of hewing in the rocks according to precise measurements which they set. They excelled in their architectural art without moving one single building block or installing it above another. Somehow, they worked according to a unified model and mastered its symmetry. This is not the first visit by the documentary team to the area of Al Hijr, also known as Madain Salih, but it is, perhaps, the most daring visit in attempting to revive the site and get some inspiration from the ancient humans who managed to hew in the rocks, producing magnificent chambers, doors, and windows.

Tracking the traces of stone age

Since its launch in 2014, the “Retracing Arab footsteps” documentary managed to raise the bar of its intellectual challenge through turning key historical and exploratory questions to an intriguing television program. The documentary is being watched by scores of millions, and several of its episodes have been translated to English. This success, as impressive as it is, also presents a challenge to Al Arabyiah, Eid al-Yahya, along with the entire documentary team to keep abiding by scientific objectivity, continuing to present the interesting material in a smooth manner to the widest array of viewers while adhering to the objectivity of the information.