An Age-Old Mis-Conception
Archaeologists are of the opinion that cultural ties between India and Saudi Arabia are at least 8,000 years old, as they have discovered a temple at an 8,000-year-old archaeological site in Al-Faw, south-west of Riyadh.
The Saudi Heritage Commission has confirmed the news, saying in a statement that a multinational team of archaeologists discovered the temple with the help of cutting-edge technology while conducting a thorough survey of the site. According to the statement, archaeologists used high-quality aerial photography, guided drone footage using ground control points, a topographic survey, remote sensing, ground-penetrating radar, laser scanning, geophysical survey, extensive walkover surveys, and Sondages Throughout the Site (SPA).
Apart from the remains of the temple made of stone, they also discovered parts of an altar at the site. On the basis of this discovery, researchers have claimed that the residents of Al-Faw used to lead lives, full of ceremonies, worshipping, and rituals near the rock-cut temple, located on the outskirts of Mount Tuwaiq (or Khashem Qaryah) The usage of new technology has helped archaeologists detect 8,000-year-old Neolithic human settlements. They have also found 2,807 graves from various periods. These graves, documented and classified into six groups, are scattered throughout the site. Devotional inscriptions, covering the ground, have revealed the religious beliefs of the Al-Faw people. Researchers believe that an inscription in the Jabal Lahaq sanctuary indicates that the Al-Faw people used to worship God Kahal.
Archaeologists have further claimed that Al-Faw was a culturally rich city, as the site still carries the existence of a complex, aesthetic and well-planned township. The city had four monumental buildings, corner towers, internal plans, and open-air courtyards, with an intricate irrigation system that included canals, water cisterns, and hundreds of pits. From these pits, it is evident that the Al-Faw locals ensured a steady supply of water to survive in harsh climatic conditions.
For the past four decades, researchers have been concentrating on the archaeological site of Al-Faw because of its rich cultural heritage. The previous findings of the studies were published in a seven-volume book. As mentioned in that publication, Al-Faw had residential and market areas, temples and tombs. However, this new discovery is far more comprehensive in its findings, as it would help people understand the daily life-style of people living in Al-Faw.
Interestingly, the latest Al-Faw site discoveries have also revealed that idol worship was a common practice in the Arab World thousand years ago. It means that the non-idol worshipers and anti-temple practices of Islam, which exist in this part of the world today, were not there during those days.
Hence, these discoveries challenge the widely-held belief that the Islamic conquest of Saudi Arabia had civilised the desert people.
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