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Saudi Heritage Commission to retrieve underwater artifacts

This excavation seeks to highlight the importance of antiquities submerged in the Red Sea.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

The Saudi Heritage Commission has undertaken a project with King Abdulaziz University focused on surveying submerged antiquities in the Umluj and Ras Sheikh Humaid areas in the Red Sea

The designated sites will be photographed using high-quality 3D photogrammetry and video technology, making an accurate map of the wrecks and determining the locations of fixed reference points using the GPS. It will cover more than 25 designated survey sites along the path in Ras Sheikh Humaid, Dubai, Al-Wajh, and Umluj areas, which will also be monitored. 

The survey will also try to retrieve artifacts that may be subject to damage and detect parts of the wreck with archaeological work devices and tools. The commission states that the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf region harbor many keys to the kingdom’s cultural heritage.

The project will be implemented with the participation of an Italian team from the University of Naples and a marine sonar survey of the sites to create nautical maps and high-resolution images of all areas. Data will be collected and analyzed using sonar and sound waves. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is also involved in the project.

Jasir Al-Herbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission, said that the commission has made significant achievements and uncovered underwater cultural heritage. It established a new marine center to preserve underwater cultural heritage in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. The commission will encourage scientific cooperation with local and international universities to uncover underwater heritage sites and build capacities in the field.

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