The hidden Mawan Valley is said to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia.
The hidden Mawan Valley is considered one of the maximum important archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia. Located close to Ad-Dilam, south of Riyadh, it’s also a place of beautiful natural beauty. Dr Abdul Aziz Al-Ghazzi, a history professor and archaeologist, advised: “There are types of valleys: Ones that cannot be seen from a distance but only by standing at its head, such as Marwan Valley, and people that can be seen from a distance such as Wadi Al-Rumah, Al-Tiri and Al-Shawki.” The majestic view of the valley includes stone systems on each facet. There are also stays of forts and castles, and two watchtowers reflect the area’s strategic significance due to its vegetation and water resources. He stated the valley cut west to east through a high plateau and was known for its depth and meanders. “There are fortifications which can be still standing at the main factors of the valley. Along the valley there are water springs, crests, and bodies of water in solid lands that last for a long duration of the year,” he added. As well as Mawan, numerous different cities are dotted along the valley. Al-Ghazzi stated: “We don’t know whether the town was named after the valley or the other way around. But, for sure, the valley existed earlier than the city. However, the archaeological sites in the hidden valley and its sides have not yet been studied.” Dr Salma bint Mohammed Hawsawi, a professor of historic records at King Saud University, advised Arab News: “Archaeological missions found out that human presence in the region dates back to the Paleolithic Age and the Upper Paleolithic Age — about 100,000 years ago.” She stated that Mawan, according to Arabic sources, meant a place of shelter and pointed out that numerous Arab tribes, inclusive of the Hazzan and Rabi’ah, had lived in the area.
The valley was also mentioned in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry and writers: Ibn Duraid, Imru’ Al-Qais, and Orwa ibn Al-Ward Al-Absi. “Poets wrote about the valley and the animals that have been in the region, which include camels, zebras, and horses. The poets’ describing sparkling water flowing in the region is proof that people inhabited it,” Hawsawi stated. Pottery vessels, bracelets, and soapstone (steatite) pots were determined in the region in addition to forts and watchtowers on the valley sides. “There are forts constructed of rocks and mud, and it is clear that the mud was brought from the ground of the valley, and the rocks were cut from the floor of the edge which extends to the south.” She referred that the fort located in the southern part of the valley turned into a wall that resembled the Arabic letter “Baa”. The wall’s foundations have been supported by stone slabs 60 to 80 centimetres high cut from the adjacent land. The wall is 6 meters excessive. The towers are conical in shape, along with their centres open to the bottom, and they appeared to be without a roof. “As for the tower located in the eastern corner, it includes floors, each with its function,” she added. The building at the northern side consists of a yard surrounded by four connected but irregular walls, which also include some towers, adding that a few may also date back to the first Saudi state. Hawsawi stated the watchtowers had been used as observation posts to monitor the area and send military signals to the forts. The defensive fortifications have been constructed to protect the region from foreign invaders. Arabs used to move from one region to another, looking for water, pasture, and stability. The apparent difference in the geographical nature of the Arab countries is the cause for the existence of forms of the population: The Bedouins (nomads) lived in the desert, at the same time as the Hadaris preferred cities and laboured in agriculture, trade, and industry, she added. “We should hold these relics to introduce future generations to the cultural heritage of our ancestors,” Hawsawi stated.