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Antiquities exhibition in Riyadh proves a big hit
By Shahid Ali Khan
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 03 - 2009

Events such as the 2nd GCC Joint Antiquities Exhibition held in Riyadh would create tremendous interest if organized in European countries, said Martti Isoaro, Finland's Ambassador to the Kingdom.
Isoaro, accompanied by his wife, was seen inspecting artifacts displayed at the National Museum here on Tuesday, the concluding day of the exhibition.
The envoy said exhibitions showcasing the heritage and culture of the region, such as the 2nd GCC Joint Antiquities Exhibition were an ideal opportunity for visitors to acquaint themselves with the lifestyle of the people of a particular place and era.
He said the GCC antiquities exhibition was an opportunity for people to see a number of rare artifacts under one roof.
“The rare artifacts in this exhibition give us a chance to learn about the lifestyle of people who lived in the Arabian peninsula in the past,” said Isoaro.
Organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) the 2nd Joint Antiquities Exhibition of the Gulf Cooperation Council displayed more than 700 rare artifacts that date back to the Stone Age under the title “Unity within Cultural Diversity.”
Najla Al-Khaleefa, SCTA PR officer, said the exhibition which opened on Jan. 27 at the National Museum in Riyadh, was twice extended because of public demand.
Organized once every two years, the antiquities exhibition was first held in Abu Dhabi in 2007, she said, adding that it will next be held in Oman in 2011.
Al-Khaleefa said that the tremendous response from visitors prompted the authorities to extend the exhibition beyond its scheduled one month time.
The rare artifacts were neatly displayed in glass showcases arranged according to different eras of history – pre-historic, ancient civilization and pre-Islamic. Each object was presented with information about the country and the site where it was found, and the name and the period to which it belongs.
A wide range of artifacts depicted the lifestyle of the people who lived in the Arabian Peninsula in the past. Pottery and stone axes from Saudi Arabia's Birhima, Najran and Mesolithic flint arrows and axes from Qatar were some of the objects that attracted visitors.
An ostrich egg collected in Madinat Hamad dating back to 2000-1800 BC early Dilmun in Bahrain and a sandstone lioness breastfeeding her cub found in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ula region and dating back to 800 BC were especially of interest to visitors to the exhibition.

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