Rock Art in Hail Region… An Album of the Saudi History

Rock Art at Shuwaymis in Hail Region tell historians so much about life in the Middle East going back thousands of years to the Neolithic period.

The history of the Hail region in Saudi Arabia has many important sites and events that have been recorded in the Arab register. The region dates back to several centuries BC, where many Arab tribes settled over the centuries for its strategic location in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula, and Hail became one of the richest regions in the Kingdom. It has been visited by many travelers and orientalists throughout the ages to explore the treasures of the archaeological regions that vary from place to place.

  • The incredible petroglyphs of the Hail region in Saudi Arabia is as close as possible to an album that have recorded the Saudi History

This region includes two outstanding mountains located in a desert landscape: Jabel Umm Sinman at Jabbah and Jabal al-Manjor and Raat at Shuwaymis. The petroglyphs sites in the city of Jabbah in Hail entered the World Heritage Sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be the fourth heritage site of the Kingdom to be added in the World Heritage List, as these drawings are considered among the rare monuments depicting the daily life of man in prehistoric times.

Jebel Umm Sanman, in Jabbah Hail, dates back to 7000 BCE
Jebel Umm Sanman, in Jabbah Hail, dates back to 7000 BCE

The ancient city of Jabbah, located in the North-West of the city of Hail, about 100 kilometers in the desert of Nafud, the land of an ancient lake that once situated at the foot of the Umm Sinman hill region that has now disappeared after being a source of fresh water for people and animals for long years. The different petroglyphs and inscriptions of human and animal figures tell the stories of the ancestors along almost 10,000 years of history.

This is why Jabbah is considered one of the largest and most important sites of inscriptions and rock paintings in the Kingdom, an art museum of ancient peoples’ museums, and a desert heritage tourist destination in the region. It includes the oldest sites dating back to the Stone Age, where visitors can see scenes of daily life of man in the stone ages thousands of years ago.

The ancient city has an enormous amount of drawings and engravings that were painted and engraved in different ages on the facades of the mountain rocks surrounding this village. These drawings and engravings are characterized by handling varied artistic themes, adding to the stone tools used by the ancient man in digging his rich drawings, engravings, and petroglyphs.

The most important of these drawings and carvings is located in Mount Umm Senman, West of the city. Being stable in the ground, they represent the early pattern of drilling and engraving. It includes many Thamudi inscriptions and drawings dating back more than seven thousand years BC and others dating to the Stone Age. This mountain is a landmark in the region, so many books talked about it.

Mount Umm Senman attracts tourists and those interested in archeology from inside and outside the Kingdom to view the inscriptions, which are estimated at 5431 Thamudi inscriptions and 194 drawings of different animals, including 1378 drawings of camels in different sizes and forms. The number of human drawings reached 262 drawings.

This impressive number of drawings, inscriptions, and petroglyphs refers that this region’s residents possessed many elements of civilization, which is the same in Mount Ghouta, where there are drawings and inscriptions rich in scenes of daily life of the human being and animals that settled in the region.

Also significant is the fact that this region with its inscriptions, drawings, and petroglyphs cover three different historic periods— The first period dates back to the seventh millennium BC, the second period is of the Thamudi era dates from 1500 to 2500 BC, and its most prominent drawings and rock inscriptions confirm the human habitation of camels, and the Arab period is the third of these periods. Some studies indicate the discovery of a fourth period dating back to the Islamic times, represented by the writings of the Kufic writings on some stones falling from Mount Senman, which in its entirety are verses of Quran and Islamic supplications; one of them dated in the month of Rajab 147 AH.

These paintings are illustrations of human history, activity and his adaptation to the environment and its cultural level in the Neolithic period, in light of the paucity of information about men before history.