Ancient Arab sites show potential of exchanges

Updated: Jan 24, 2024 By Wang Kaihao China Daily Print
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Artifacts on show include 50 items that have never been publicly displayed before. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Mesopotamia or Egypt may come first to mind when discussing initial civilizations in the present-day Arab world. Thanks to archaeological excavations in recent years, people now have a more comprehensive picture.

For millennia, AlUla, an oasis city in a valley in northwestern Saudi Arabia, demonstrated its glamour and key role in human history as a home of various kingdoms and a key place in intercontinental trade networks.

The flow of time may have eroded the spectacular ancient architecture, but unearthed artifacts there, thanks to joint work by archaeologists from Saudi Arabia and France, now help the Chinese public to imagine its lesser-known yet remarkable past long before the Islamic period.

Opened earlier this month in the west wing of the Meridian Gate Galleries in the Palace Museum in Beijing, the exhibition AlUla, Wonder of Arabia, ushered visitors to time travel to trace the trajectory of evolving civilizations through 236 artifacts, of which 50 items have never been publicly displayed before.

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