An unprecedented display of Saudi artifacts and relics discovered recently are on exhibit this month in the Sackler hall at the famed Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
The exhibit sheds light on an unknown era of the Arabian Peninsula's history, featuring Stone Age spearheads and stone Sarcophaguses crafted in the fourth century B.C.
This indicates that the Empty Quarter was a different place from what it is now.
“There are hidden information about the role of Saudi. A misconception is that it is sole desert, and the only advancements occurred after the discovery of petrol. Such artifacts indicate the country's contribution to international civilization, and that is what we want to show the world,” said Ali al-Ghabban, vice president of Antiquities and Museums at the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA)
The exhibition, which showcases relics in general, is part of a new perspective in viewing the kingdom's history, and how it is portrayed to the world.
Despite the exhibition encompassing the Islamic era, such as the Kaaba door dating back to the Ottoman Empire, artifacts as old as the ones discovered from the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. are surprising discoveries. They are important from an archaeological perspective as they reveal a series of civilizations spread across the Arabian Peninsula.
“Discovery began since forty years and the results since have encouraged us to continue. We see the Islamic period as a forefront to the rest of the world with the spreading of the Arabic language,” said al-Ghabban.
“There is no dispute between the role of the peninsula before Islam and now, but we are taking off from a historical outlook,” he added.
The exhibition will be on display until February next year, when it moves on to other American cities.