Arabian Kingdoms

This is the 2nd  gallery in the museum in terms of sequence, and it  is 1,500 square meters in area. The gallery showcases the time period extending from the 4th millennium B.C., to the end of the 4th millennium A.D. The time period includes the dawn of time, to the rise of Arabian Kingdoms, through commercial activity throughout different historical eras before Islam. The very first visual a visitor gets in the gallery is a large model of “Taima Wall”, built within the gallery using original rock fragments translocated from the wall itself. Over the wall is a large screen showing some antiquities and locations of each of the Ancient Kingdoms of Arabia.
With the dawn of the 3rd millennium B.C. rose the first civilization in the eastern and northern Arabia as well as in the northeastern Arabia. With the rise of kingdoms in Arabia, the importance of communicating with distant desert areas also increased. On the other side of the wall are a collection of stone panels found at the Khebbah site in Tabuk province. These stone panels are some of the oldest known historical antiquities in Arabia, dating back to 4th millennium B.C. Some of these panels rise to a height of 4 meters. The ancient symbols and inscriptions found on the stone panels indicate to the succession of civilizations that dominated the region. 

Given the consensus between the dawn of history and the emergence of writing in the ancient world, the gallery showcases the branches of the writing tree since its inception in 3200 BC to the emergence of early Arabic writing in 1000 BC. Two means are used to showcase this. The first is a computer program explaining the origins of writing, and the other is the sculptures of some ancient stone panels carrying writings and numerous illustrative symbols. Both can be found on the opposite of Taima Wall. There are also models of a few types of writings such as, Talmudic, Lihyanite, Safaitic, Dedanite, Aramaic, Nabataean, and Early Islamic. Immediately after this display are models of collective semicircular graves, as well as a display of some of the tools and utensils found inside these graves.
At the dawn of 1000 B.C. Arabs began appearing on the world stage of events. This is revealed on an Assyrian graphic panel. The panel illustrates a battle between Arabs and Assyrians as the first ever mention of Arabs. It was the Battle that took place in 853 B.C. Commercial ties became stronger in the 1st millennium B.C between the regions of the Near East, Eastern Africa, and Southern Asia. Given Arabia’s significant location as the crossroads of important trade routes, it was witness to the rise of a number of Arabian Kingdoms. The peoples of Edom, Lihyan, and Kindah founded nations extending alongside the main inland trade routes of Arabia. In the south, the kingdoms of Sheba, Qataban, Hadramout, Minaeans, Himyar and Awsan started to trade in spices and incense. The kings and queens of those kingdoms built cities and extensive systems to irrigate their fields and farms and directed the trade of incense and gum coming from southern kingdoms to the places in need of these commodities in Iraq, Syria and Egypt.
On further investigation in the gallery, a visitor can see the presence of one of the very first cities of these early Arabian kingdoms, which rose in the northwestern part of Arabia in the 2nd millennium B.C. namely, the Medyan Civilization. There are other artifacts from cities of intermediate Arabian kingdoms, which prospered during the 8th and 9th century B.C. Its people depended on agriculture and opportunities put forth by the trade routes. Such cities were: Tayma, Daumat Al-Jandal, Dedan (modern Al-Ula,) and Najran at the southern portal. There are also tools and items on display from the caravan city of Al Fao (the first capital of Kindah). Such items include, glass and gold utensils, wooden reels, combs, carpets and ceramic utensils. Also on display is a realistic model of a traditional Al Fao house.
There is a model of one of the stone facades of Mada’in Saleh, the World Heritage listed site in Saudi Arabia and some artifacts representing the Nabataean civilization. Nearby are other artifacts and items on display including a bronze sculpture of a lion’s head and claws dating back to the 1st century B.C. This item was found in Najran probably as one of the most significant discoveries made in Arabia for that period that dates back to the ancient Thaj civilization (4th century B.C.) known for its multiple cultures and unique for minting some of the oldest coins used in Arabia. Also found at the site was the gold treasure of Thaj, dubbed as the Treasure of Thaj as well as many other movable and immovable artifacts​​

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