archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia
 

archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia

as part of an extensive development program launched by the royal commission for al-ula (RCU), a team of world-leading archaeologists have been drafted in to undertake a comprehensive survey of the region in saudi arabia. on a recent visit to amman design week 2019 in neighboring jordan, designboom caught up with the latest updates of the project, which marks the onset of a wider vision as the country opens its doors to foreign tourists for the first time. in a new push for international visitors, a number of tourism-boosting schemes are underway, including a luxury resort designed by french architect, jean nouvel, set to open within the historic site in 2023.

archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia designboom

a nabataean tomb carved into the sandstone of al-ula

image © royal commission for al-ula

 

 

in order to achieve the goals set out for al-ula, the program is enlisting a team of world-leading experts, led by RCA archaeologist dr rebecca foote, who will carefully document, map and model the area. state-of-the-art technologies and methods are also being employed, such as aerial lidar scanning and photography captured from light aircraft, helicopter and drone. the lidar will be able to ‘see’ what lies amongst the site’s palm groves and vegetation while the helicopter team will record the harder to reach areas.

archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia designboom

mada’in salih, al-ula

image © royal commission for al-ula

 

 

speaking about the project, dr rebecca foote comments, ‘at the heart of the royal commission for al-ula’s archaeology program is a commitment to preserving al-ula’s extraordinary cultural heritage sites for generations to come. our work observes international best practice standards and utilizes some of the most sophisticated technology available. the public closure of sites such as mada’in salih will allow us to carry out vital work locating, mapping and visualizing al-ula’s past in order to evaluate vulnerabilities and implement appropriate protective interventions throughout the area.’

archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia designboom

ancient inscriptions

image © royal commission for al-ula

 

 

due to its prime location for trade routes, the north-western region of saudi arabia was a key site for the nabataeans – an ancient civilization dating back to the 1st millennium BCE, who are most known today for the astounding temples and tombs they carved into the beautiful ‘rose city’ of petra in jordan. despite petra being well-explored, al-ula has remained largely under the radar to international audiences. however, with this new program, RCU intends to uncover the area’s ancient secrets and welcome foreign tourists to the magical site.

archaeologists explore the secrets of al-ula ahead of tourist development in saudi arabia designboom

the monastery at petra, jordan, which was also carved by the nabataeans

image © designboom

the ancient nabataeans’ capital, petra, jordan

image © designboom

the treasury at petra, jordan

image © designboom

the siq at petra, jordan

image © designboom

 

 

project info:

 

project name: RCU archaeological survey program

location: al-ula, saudi arabia

undertaken by: royal commission for al-ula

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