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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/01/2013

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) unearthed recently an ancient castle dating to the first century of Hijra (7th-8th centuries) in the Madinah province.

SCTA's archaeological excavation division came across the remnants of the ancient castle in the Wadi Al-Aqiq area.

There are also clay and steatite potteries and glass artifacts besides stone implements at the site.

"Preliminary studies based on the architectural style and the artifacts found at the site indicated that the palace belonged to the Umayyad period (660-750)," chief of the excavation team Khaled Eskoubi said.

Eskoubi stressed the importance of excavations in the Wadi Al-Aqeeq because the 80-km long valley was densely populated in ancient times.

Ancient records also show that castles in that place belonged to prominent figures in the early Islamic history such as Saeed bin Al-Aas, Marwan bin Hakam, Saad bin Abi Waqqas and Sakinah bint Hussain. The fertile land in the wadi was also good for farming and had a number of gardens.

He said the excavations were made in two consecutive seasons on a hill in the southeastern side of the wadi which is currently called (Qusur Urawa) Urawa Castles. The hill of medium height is littered with scattered pieces of clay and volcanic stones at its slopes, he said.

The present discovery showed the remnants of a castle covering an area of 40 meters by 30 meters.

The findings include the foundations of eight chambers of the castle and its walls were built with the volcanic stones, and had clay and gypsum coating. The floors were leveled with clay. The potteries included cups, plates and jars of clay and porcelain. The porcelain work clearly indicated that they belonged to the first and second centuries of the Islamic calendar, he said.

The railway line of the Hijaz Railway of the Ottoman period also cut across the wadi with a bridge to connect both sides of the wadi. There are two dams there. The lower part of the wadi is 100 meters to 150 meters wide and 10 meters to 100 meters deep. It also serves as a drainage outlet for floodwater flowing into it from 40 other valleys.

 






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