31 August 2021

Jabal Ikmar – Al Ula

There are thousands of inscriptions across Al Ula, due to the different people who passed through the region over many years and left their marks. The earliest are dated 9 to 10 centuries BC. Some were written by professional scribes, others by ordinary people. Inscriptions are incised, painted and in relief and include Aramaic, Thamudic, Dadanitic, Minaean, Nabataean, Greek, Latin and Arabic languages. Among the items they describe are journeys, pilgrimages and offerings. Jabal Ikmah appears to have been a sacred place not only for the Lihyanites but also travellers who passed through Al Ula and is one of Saud Arabia’s largest open libraries. There are hundreds of inscriptions many dating back 2000 years giving us insight into the economic, political, religious and social lives of their authors as well as the development of the Arabic language. Most of the inscriptions are written in Dadanitic whose alphabet was written from right to left. Many different animals are also depicted including camels, horses, Ibex and Ostriches. Humans often figure in hunting scenes and musical instruments are carved on the rocks.