This Web site is designed to give scientists and the public an opportunity to explore rock art in the remote landscape of Saudi Arabia. Take a tour and learn about the ancient people who carved the petroglyphs and the animals they hunted and herded. We have chosen some exciting imaging techniques to best depict this dramatic art. Some of our Web pages are interactive, allowing you to zoom in on specific figures or navigate around an image (GigaPans), or change the lighting on an image to see more (RTIs).
You can go through the Web site in sequence or select one of the topics listed across the bar at the top and click on it.
The Arabian Peninsula is seen by much of the world as terra incognita, particularly concerning its ancient history. Yet, as research begins to penetrate deeper and the archaeological record is more fully documented, it is clear that this region has an extremely rich cultural heritage.
As more and more exploration is conducted, Saudi Arabia is emerging as one of the world’s leaders in rock art. New localities are being discovered with increasing frequency as scholars and laypersons alike become more aware of their importance. In the past three decades, hundreds of rock art sites have been recorded in Saudi Arabia.
The Arabian Rock Art Heritage project, funded by the Layan Cultural Foundation, began in 2010; and since that time we have documented dozens of sites over a broad swath of the Saudi landscape from north to south. One goal of the Arabian Rock Art Heritage team is to accurately record and interpret the petroglyphs, using advanced imaging techniques such as GigaPan, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), 3-dimensional laser scanning, and night photography. This project has investigated the applicability of these techniques to Saudi petroglyphs with the hope that other archaeologists will also find them useful for their regions.
Because of the remoteness and difficult access to many of the Saudi petroglyph sites, this Web site attempts to make high-resolution images of these ancient scenes available to scientists, art historians, and the public worldwide. We are committed to disseminating these data in order to accelerate the advancements of archaeology in Saudi Arabia and to educate the public about the rich cultural heritage of this region.