SCTH Participates in an International Conference in China about the Belt and Road Initiative


SCTH participates in an international conference in China about the Belt and Road initiative
Reviewing the outcomes of the archaeological works at the Sirin archaeological site
 
The antiquities and museums sector at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage participated in the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in the People's Republic of China, as part of the Silk Road Belt that connected peoples thousands of years ago, which was held in Beijing between April 25-27, 2019.

During the conference, the sector reviewed the outcomes of the archaeological works at the Sirin archaeological site in the southern Al-Laith area, through a workshop that was implemented by the center for underwater cultural heritage in china, with the participation of Dr. Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director general of the research and archaeological studies center at the commission, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Omari, advisor of the antiquities and museums sector, and Mahdi Al-Qarni, an antiquities researcher. 

Dr. Abdullah Al-Zahrani spoke about the beginning of the project in cooperation between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the Chinese center for underwater cultural heritage in archaeological excavation in the Sirin site on the sidelines of the Roads of Arabia exhibition that was held in China in 2016, noting that this project is part of 44 archaeological ventures that the commission is implementing in the various regions of the Kingdom. 

The director general of the research and archaeological studies center at the commission also spoke about the most important works that has been implemented over the past three years at the site that is composed of archaeological hills covered with sands and include housing and services facilities, where the surfaces of these hills are covered by various kinds of pots in terms of the material used in their making and their forms, in addition to metal items that were found, including coins and jewelry.  

For his part, Dr. Jiang Bong, head of the Chinese team in the archaeological Sirin project, announced the most important results of the field works, including the wall pillars that extend over a wide area, which makes likely to be a housing zone, market or any similar area, noting that the team members have used the copy-ink mechanism to copy the inscriptions.

Bong added: "We have found a number of fractions of Chinese porcelain that belongs to various eras, which provides information and evidence that the site is an important commercial site at the maritime Silk Road, which stresses that the old China has had close relations with the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea".  

As for the president of the Chinese center for underwater cultural heritage Wayng Daiman, he expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom's cooperation in the field of the archaeological works, where this project contributed to exchanging expertise between the two countries in the field, considering the project as one of the most important joint research projects that China implements with other countries. 

The workshop addressed the most important Arab recourses that spoke about the arrival of Chinese ships to the Arab ports on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, which, of course, included merchants and pilgrims, where the workshop also highlighted that the program that was implemented by the Chinese center for underwater cultural heritage included a visit to a number of museums and research centers specialized in antiquities. 

Several Chinese university instructors participating in the workshop noted that many of the Chinese sources have preserved the biographies of a number of Muslim scholars and figures who faced difficult and hard conditions of travelling for trade, Hajj and education and the roads they took; among these figures are (Ma Hoan) the translator of the Muslim Chinese sailor (Zheng He) who visited Makkah al-Mukarramah and performed Hajj with a group of Muslim sailors before writing a book about his journey that was titled "What I have seen overseas". Other scholars include Ma Min Ching (1719-1781), and (Ma De Chin) (1794-1874) who performed Hajj and wrote a book about his journey titled "What I have seen in my way to Hajj". These sources spoke about the most famous roads that Muslim pilgrims used from China to Makka al-Mukarramah and the difficulties they faced, and descriptions of Makka al-Mukarramah and Al Madina al-Munawarrah in the Chinese sources.