His Excellency Mr. Ahmad Al-Khatib
Cultural Heritage Development Projects
The initiative of 'Environment of Arabian Peninsula' is an important part of the Saudi-British joint cooperation efforts for highlighting the works of researchers from different cultures as they tend to ignore the differences between them and focus on the issues of mutual concern.
There is an existing cooperation between the researchers from the two kingdoms for more than a decade of research into the history of the Arabian Peninsula. These efforts aim to link scientifically between the research and studies on climate changes and environmental shifts within the project of “Ancient Deserts” based in the Oxford University, which is considered a valuable opportunity for collaboration and discussion of the important research and global issues, and bridge the link between different cultures.
The importance of this conference lies in its role in bringing together scientists of archeology and environment from the Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, in addition to scientists from several countries around the world to discuss interrelationships between, human history and climate change in the Arabian Peninsula.
Scientific evidences have indicated that, the Arabian Peninsula was one of the first human settlements in the world, and that it was filled with green plains and flowing rivers. This confirm the Prophet Mohammad’s saying in this respect (peace be upon him).
In light of the number of conferences, forums and workshops that have been held in Saudi Arabia to announce the most outstanding archeological discoveries and outcomes of national and international excavation missions across several locations in the Kingdom, and driven by these efforts, Oxford University (which is one of the most prestigious universities in the field of antiquities studies and human history in the world), has organized the Green Arabia Conference 2014, in an attempt to highlight the outputs of field work that has been done by the joint scientific missions.
Oxford University is a key partner of The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Nationa Heritage (SCTH) in the "Green Arabia” project will be implemented in five years period, started in 2012.
Besides, the relations between SCTH and Oxford in scientific research of the history of the Arabian Peninsula go back more than a decade in an effort to connect scientifically between the research and studies on climate changes and environmental shifts within the project of “Ancient environments”, it is great opportunity for cooperation and discussion on important research and global issues, and bridging a link between different cultures.
Green Arabia Project is a study on the relations between the successive climate changes the Arabian Peninsula has passed through across lengthy periods, and the beginnings of the early human settlements on the land, and the migration of man across continents of the ancient world. So far, the project has revealed evidences of the presence of hundreds of lakes, rivers and forests, and the organisms that lived in these forests and the ancient environments, around which several successive civilizations had originated, as the mild climate of the Arabian Peninsula in those turbulent eras, had made it a suitable place for early human settlements.
The archaeological surveys and excavations - which have been expanding during the past five years – have revealed the historical depth of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in terms of the successive civilizations that originated and thrived on the land of the Arabian Peninsula, the presence of human settlements since the prehistoric times, the progressions of civilization in large parts of the Kingdom, its contacts with the neighboring civilizations in the same period, the expansion of trade routes and cities that originated them, and the trade relations that linked East and West, North and South, as concrete evidences to the cultural depths of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As a result of aggressive expansion carried out by The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Nationa Heritage (SCTH) in the archeological activity which was extended to more locations (as it is authorized to take care, study, develop and preserve the antiquities of the Kingdom), very important findings were made, on the history and civilization of the Arabian Peninsula in collaboration with a number of national and international outstanding organizations in the field of archeology from, Europe, the United States and Asia.
Over 8000 sites have been surveyed and recorded from all over the different parts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Currently, expansion work is underway in further archeological research and excavations, in an attempt to realize the depths of this cultural heritage, connecting its elements together, to gather more important results on the tangible and intangible cultural evidences on the ancient communities of the Arabian Peninsula.
SCTH is currently working in collaboration with the archeological missions from 10 countries, such as France, Italy, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Austria, through (22) joint venture.