On 11 June 2020, members of The Saudi British Society, with the kind cooperation of the International Association for the Study of Arabia (IASA), were given an exclusive opportunity to see Arabian Renaissance, a new documentary film.
In recent years, archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has entered a golden period. Saudi and international teams have collaborated on projects across the Kingdom, from studies of the Peninsula’s climatic history to underwater excavations in the Red Sea, and the exploration of several lost cities. But what new information do the archaeologists offer? And can their revelations change accepted views of Arabia’s history? Travelling the length and breadth of the Kingdom, this one-hour documentary film searches for answers – and celebrates the renaissance of Saudi archaeology.
After the showing of the film, the IASA arranged for a small panel, including the filmmaker Patrick Mark of Mark Stewart Productions and archaeologists featured in the film, to discuss it and answer questions. The discussion provided great insight into the work of the teams on the ground, and the myriad of discoveries that have been found – and may yet be found – across tracts of largely unexplored areas. The increased focus on cultural and historical heritage in the Kingdom, seen in recent years by the opening of Mada’in Saleh, Al Ula and other historic sites to tourists, offers exciting opportunities for archaeologists, historians and all those interested in the development of Arabian society to deepen their understanding of the people of the Arabian Gulf.