Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

13 Jun 2013


June 13 - November 15, 2013 Experience more than 7,000 years of largely unknown cultural history of the Arabian Peninsula in Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on view at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, June 22–November 3, 2013. Roads of Arabia examines the impact of ancient trade routes that traversed the peninsula, carrying precious frankincense and myrrh to the Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman world and allowing for a vibrant exchange of both objects and ideas. With the later rise of Islam, pilgrimage roads converged on Mecca (Makkah) and gradually replaced the well-traveled incense roads.

“This exquisite exhibition reveals the deep and rich cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia through its phenomenal art and artifacts. From gold to lifelike colossi of ancient kings, Roads of Arabia promises to engage and excite all who experience it,” says Sandra Olsen, PhD, renowned archaeologist and Carnegie’s Director of the Center for World Cultures. Olsen, whose own recent research includes the examination and interpretation of ancient Saudi petroglyphs, or rock art, was instrumental in bringing Roads of Arabia to Pittsburgh. “The Arabian Peninsula was a crossroads for humanity, from migrations out of Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, to trade along the frankincense trail, to modern pilgrimages. For me personally, I am thrilled that our visitors have the rare opportunity to learn more about this amazing terra incognita known as Saudi Arabia.”

Roads of Arabia is an unprecedented assembly of more than 200 recently excavated objects, none of which had been seen outside of Saudi Arabia until 2010. These objects include Prehistoric tools; vessels in ceramic, stone, glass, and bronze; inscriptions, seals, and tablets in a variety of media; bone, shell, gold, precious stone, silver jewelry; stele; funerary objects; figural sculpture in stone, bronze, and ceramic, ranging in size from miniature to monumental; bas-relief and architectural sculpture; incense burners, lamps and other household items; fresco; coins; inscribed tombstones; and silk and textiles.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History is one of only five North American venues to host Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Event Date: 
Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 8:00am to Friday, August 30, 2013 - 8:30pm
Sponsored By: 
American Middle East Institute, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Carnegie Museum of Natural History,4400 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213