SCTH is Preparing to Launch the Ninth Season of the “Green Arabian Peninsula” Project

After Realizing Achievements with International Reverberations 
SCTH is Preparing to Launch the Ninth Season of the “Green Arabian Peninsula” Project 

The national heritage sector at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage is preparing to launch the ninth season of the scientific project the “Green Arabian Peninsula” in partnership with the King Saud University and the Saudi Geological Survey, at the local level, and in partnership with the German Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, Oxford University and the Australian University of Queensland, at the international level. 

Deputy Chairman for the National Heritage Sector at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage Mr. Rustom bin Maqboul Al Kubeissi said that the commission attaches great importance to the Green Arabian Peninsula Project that realized wide international reverberations through the important discoveries that shed light on the historical status of the Kingdom, cultural depth and being the cradle for the beginning of human civilizations, the most important of such discoveries was discovering the footsteps of an old human being on the shores of an old lake in the Nafud Dessert on the outskirts on Tabuk Region that dates back to some 85,000 years ago, which represents an astonishing and a very rare discovery that shows the wide spread of man outside Africa and his reach to the Arabian Peninsula as part of the other human migration regions. Other discoveries include a finger of an adult human near the Wusta site at the Taima Governorate that dates back to some 85,000 years ago and it is more likely for the finger to belong to the first influxes of immigrants in the modern age to the Arabian Peninsula that was at that time green meadows and rich of rivers and lakes, which has been proven by other discoveries in the project that includedfossils foranimals, such as elephants and crocodiles, among others.  

He noted that the Green Arabian Peninsula addresses the relation between climate changes that hit the Arabian Peninsula over the ages and the early settlement of mankind in the country and the human migration into it through the continents of the old world, where discoveries uncovered evidence of having hundreds of lakes, rivers, forests and living beings across the peninsula, which contributed to starting several successive civilizations. 

Deputy Chairman for the National Heritage Sector at the commission said that the projects of the blue and green Arabian Peninsula sees the participation of several personnel from the antiquities sector, the Saudi Geological Survey, and archeologists from the King Saud University, in addition to a number of Saudi university male and female students, as part of an initiative by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to transfer expertise to Saudi archaeologists, where a number of PhD and masters students have presented distinguished participations in these projects, where more than 30 students from the King Saud, Hael and Jazan universities are currently working in the project. 

As for the importance of the two scientific projects the “Green Arabian Peninsula” and the “Blue Arabian Peninsula” and the works of the current season in both projects, Director General of the archaeological research and studies center at the commission Dr. Abdullah Al Zahrani said: “Human migrations from Africa is a main subject in the studies of the human development, where the lands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have an important role due to its geographical location between the continents in knowing the movement and transfer of mankind and the impact of climate change in forming the population history at the early beginning of the Ice Age “Pleistocene”. Nevertheless, the evidence of the early Stone Age in the Arabian Peninsula is often neglected in highlighting the importance of examples outside Africa, presupposing that the old man has avoided taking the dessert ring road which is highly dry and mainly focused on coasts while moving, mainly the edges of the Indian Ocean. He added that the latest advancement in the environmental archaeological research has contributed to finding a base point that engages the Arabian Peninsula in such studies and circulations, raising the importance of the two archaeological projects with the aim of addressing and studying the examples of the spread of the mankind and expanding the circle of the history of the settlement of mankind on the shores of the Red Sea (the Blue Arabian Peninsula) and inside the Arabian Peninsula, especially during rainy eras (the Green Arabian Peninsula).

He added: “With the importance of the Red Sea region for its being a corner where mankind has once settled and inhibited in the early beginning of the Ice Age “Pleistocene”, the outcomes of the latest research stress that wild environment have a decisive significance in the spread of mankind and their many attempts to expand during the improved periods of the Ice Age, where the area was rich in its biodiversity and full of rivers, lakes, meadows and plains.”

The study of these internal area aims at addressing one of the remaining gaps in the history of the Arabian Peninsula, which is studying the paleontology through studying the remaining of avalanche fossils and verifying them at the western parts of the Nafud Dessert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study addresses a comprehensive review on the history of mammal fossils from the Pleistocene age in the Kingdom and adjacent areas, in addition to highlighting the complicated nature of the history of the paleontology in the Arabian Peninsula, the diversity of animals as a result of the climate in Africa, and the relatively stable circumstances in the southwestern and southern parts of Asia. 

Over the past two years, several analyses have been made via the stable isotopeon fossils connected with stone tools and marks of bone cutting and butchery tools that have been discovered recently. The results have revealed the presence of similar circumstances to the current Savanna in east Africa, which hints to the spread of mankind ancestors in the region and their quick adaptation in the area.  

The results have also shown that the Arabian dessert have witnessed difficult circumstances that affected the fossils and their formation and changed their appearances, with shedding light on the history of the Arabian Peninsula and Africa in terms of  old geography of living beings, from one side, and in the Levant from the other side. 

The study has concluded its results through previous seasons that the oldest migrations from Africa was not heading towards the Levant only, but they also extended to inside the Arabian Peninsula, where these studies in general give deep insights about the interaction of mankind, animals and the environment inside the regions of the Arabian Peninsula, where the study shed light on some of the most significant answers in anthropology.