SCTH announces new archeological findings in Riyadh Province

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ISLAMABAD, Jul 15 (APP):The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) announced that it has made new archeological discoveries, this is the result of the fieldwork in the exploration project’s first season at Hillit Archeological Site in Al-Dawadmi governorate in Riyadh Province.
The discovery is of various manifestations of a settlement at the site and clearly proves its importance, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said .
The head of the prospecting team and Director of the National Heritage Administration at SCTH in Riyadh Province Ajab Al-Otaibi said the excavation site has revealed a grand mosque in the center of the settlement, Saudi Gazette reported.
The mosque has the architectural style of the early Islamic era or the first Islamic era. There are remnants of houses comprising mineral and metal furnaces for smelting and treating minerals.
The team has also discovered several adjacent furnaces representing various stages for mining, which were described in the Islamic references. Aside from these, there were other findings including ceramics, glass, soapstone, beads and glass measures that give an initial indication that there was economic and commercial activity in the settlement.
Al-Otaibi said several Islamic inscriptions at the site have been documented. These inscriptions give a new dimension to the history of the region and its civilization during the early Islamic period. He added that the pottery items discovered at the site have undergone studies and classification. The initial results indicate that they date back to the early Islamic era — to the Umayyad and the beginning of the Abbasid period.
The exploration project at Hillit Archeological Site in Al-Dawadmi governorate was carried out in line with the directives of Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of SCTH. It focuses on excavation works in the fenced area of the archeological site with an area of (600 X 100) meters. The aim of the project is to verify the density of archeological findings and find the tools and means accompanying the mining works, Al-Otaibi said.
The site is considered to be among the most important mining settlements during the early Islamic era. The first archeological works carried out at the site were during the reconnaissance works in the area in the central part of the Kingdom in 1401H (1980). Several mining antiquities and monuments found on the surface were registered at the site. A considerable quantity of fragments of ceramic and glass utensils are scattered in the area, Al-Otaibi added.
The area is characterized by an abundance of stone hand-mills used to grind minerals. There is a lot of evidence indicating the importance of this city and its economic status since the early times of history.
Al-Otaibi gave examples of these as the general planning, the distinctive architectural style as indicated by the grand mosque, the housing units that were linked to one another and the locations for smelting the minerals and treating them.