A Saudi/French archeological expedition discovered a large number of ancient pottery and wooden and metal tools at Madain Saleh (Al-Hijr), which dates back to more than 2000 years. The team also discovered a number of architectural units that carries characteristics signaling that the area was used as a service area. Professor Ali Al-Ghaban, vice president of archeology and museums stated that this is the second excavation season at Madae’n Saleh, which comes under the scientific cooperation program with international expeditions in the field of archeological surveying and excavating, the cooperation agreement between the archeology and museum sector in SCTA, and the National French Research Center CNRC.
Professor Ghaban explained that the excavation team includes 11 specialists in archeology, geo-physics, inscriptions, geology, anthropology, GIS, and restoration works, among others. During the first season (2008), the team discovered a number of architectural units at the residential area – Al-Diwan area – and Ethlib mountain. Currently, restoration works are executed to restore the architectural units with natural materials in order not to tamper with the nature of the findings. A special electronic software is used to document the team’s excavation and restoration works.
UNESCO announced the inclusion of Madain Saleh in its world heritage list, July 2008. It is the first site from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be included on UNESCO’s list.