Roads of Arabia. Archaeological Treasures of
17 May, 2011 Exhibition Roads of Arabia. Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia opened in the State Hermitage.
The exhibition (Rooms 351-356, 359) presents over three hundred of unique archeological finds, discovered in the territory of Arabia in the recent decades by archeologists of different countries and having combined in a really grand exposition for the first time. Monuments from different museums of Saudi Arabia among which there is ceramics, coins and jewelry, funeral steles, colossal statues of emperors, dishware from silver and precious jewelry, reflecting many thousands of years of Arabian history from the Paleolithic Age up to the 20th century. The exhibition includes seven sections: first five sections present exhibits of pre-Islamic time, the last two are dedicated to generation of Islam and Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina as well as to establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The main theme of the exhibition: roads, trade routes and routes of pilgrims
from the ancient times and up to the present days, connecting Arabia with
the outside world and its separate parts between each other. In pre-historic
period one of the dispersal routes of the primitive man from the eastern
Africa to Eurasia went through Arabia. In the historic age the Arabian
states were growing and prospering thanks largely to contacts with great
ancient civilizations sometimes being highly competitive with them in
the level of development. The monuments featured in the exhibition demonstrate
lively connections of Arabia with Mesopotamia and Egypt, with the countries
of ancient Middle East from the Indus valley to the Mediterranean world,
having existed for thousands of years,
Trade routes intersected Arabian Peninsula in all directions: south-to north and west-to east. Caravans, carrying articles of luxury and exotic goods from Southern Arabia to the countries of the Mediterranean and West Asia had been going along them for centuries. Oases: Tayma, Madyan, Najran, Nabatene, located on the trade routes gradually became large centers of international trading: cities and kingdoms, which wealth and power were famous from different sources including Bible, developed in them.
Over ten different languages were spoken in the territory of the Arabian
Peninsula in the ancient times. Constant movement along the trade routes
encouraged contacts between different Arabian tribes, their cultural and
religious impacts on each other; it gradually led to mixture of pantheons
of languages and writing, artistic traditions. It also paved the way for
rapid extension of Islam, originated in the early
A considerable part of the exhibition items has been discovered and introduced
into scientific use in the recent decades. In the beginning of the 1970s
the Antiquities and Museums Department of the Saudi Arabian Committee
on Tourism and Antiquities developed a program on study of archeological
monuments in six regions of Saudi Arabia: Eastern,
Exhibition Curator is Natalia Kozlova, Head of the Oriental Department of the State Hermitage.
For the exhibition the publishing house of the State Hermitage prepared a catalogue under scientific editorship of Mikhail Piotrovsky Director of the State Hermitage.
4th millennium B.C.