Ḥimā Cultural Area

Ḥimā Cultural Area

Located in an arid, mountainous area of southwest Saudi Arabia, on one of the Arabian Peninsula’s ancient caravan routes, Ḥimā Cultural Area contains a substantial collection of rock art images depicting hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyles in a cultural continuity of 7,000 years. Travellers and armies camping on the site left a wealth of rock inscriptions and petroglyphs through the ages and until the late 20th century, most of which are preserved in pristine condition. Inscriptions are in different scripts, including Musnad, South-Arabian, Thamudic, Greek and Arabic. The property and its buffer zone are also rich in unexcavated archaeological resources in the form of cairns, stone structures, interments, stone tool scatters and ancient wells. This location is at the oldest known toll station on an important ancient desert caravan route, where the wells of Bi’r Ḥimā date back at least 3,000 years and still produce fresh water.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Aire culturelle de Ḥimā

Situé dans une zone aride et montagneuse du sud-ouest de l’Arabie saoudite, sur l’une des anciennes routes caravanières de la péninsule arabique, le site de l’Aire culturelle de Ḥimā comprend un ensemble important de représentations d’art rupestre ayant pour thèmes la chasse, la faune, la flore et les modes de vie sur une période culturelle ininterrompue de 7 000 ans. Les voyageurs et les militaires qui ont stationné sur le site y ont laissé une multitude d’inscriptions rupestres et de pétroglyphes à différentes époques, et ce, jusqu’à la fin du XXe siècle, la plupart étant parfaitement conservés. Les inscriptions utilisent différents alphabets, notamment musnad, sudarabique, thamoudique, grec et arabe. Le bien et sa zone tampon sont également riches en ressources archéologiques non fouillées : cairns, structures en pierre, sépultures, éparpillements d’outils en pierre et puits anciens. Cet emplacement coïncide avec celui du plus ancien poste de péage connu sur une ancienne route caravanière du désert importante, où les puits de Bi’r Ḥimā datent d’au moins 3 000 ans et donnent toujours de l’eau douce.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

منطقة حمى الثقافية
تقع حمى في منطقة جبلية قاحلة في جنوب غرب المملكة العربية السعودية، وعلى أحد أقدم طرق القوافل القديمة التي كانت تعبر شبه الجزيرة العربية، وتتضمن منطقة حمى الثقافية مجموعة كبيرة من الصور المنقوشة على الصخور التي تصوِّر الصيد والحيوانات والنباتات وأساليب الحياة لثقافة امتدت على 7 آلاف عام دون انقطاع. وكان المسافرون والجيوش، الذين يحلُّون في المكان، على مرِّ العصور وحتى وقت متأخر من القرن العشرين، يتركون خلفهم الكثير من الكتابات والنقوش على الصخور التي بقي معظمها محفوظاً على حاله. وتأتي الكتابات على الصخور بعدة خطوط منها خط المسند والآرامي-النبطي والكتابة العربية الجنوبية والخط الثمودي والكتابة اليونانية والعربية. كما أنَّ هذا الموقع والمنطقة المحيطة به يذخران بآثار لم يجري التنقيب عنها بعد، وهي تتكون من أرجام وهياكل حجرية ومدافن وأدوات حجرية مبعثرة وآبار قديمة. ويقع هذا الموقع في أقدم محطة معروفة لتقاضي الرسوم وهي كائنة على أحد الطرق الهامة القديمة للقوافل، حيث توجد بئر حمى التي يرجع تاريخها إلى 3 آلاف عام مضى على الأقل، والتي لا تزال تعطي المياه العذبة حتى الآن.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

奈季兰的希马岩画
奈季兰的希马岩画位于沙特西南部的干旱山区,处在阿拉伯半岛的一条古老商队路线上,包含了大量描绘狩猎、动植物以及生活方式的岩画,时间跨度长达7000年。在这里安营扎寨的旅人和军队在不同时期留下了大量的岩画与铭文,一直延续到20世纪末,大部分都保持着原始状态。铭文用不同的文字书写,包括古南阿拉伯文、阿拉姆-纳巴泰文、南阿拉伯文、萨姆得克文、希腊文和阿拉伯文。该遗产区及其缓冲区还蕴藏着丰富的未发掘考古资源,包括石冢、石构、墓葬、石器及古井等。此地亦是古代一条沙漠商队重要路线上已知的最古老收费站,这里的Bi’r Ḥimā古井已有逾3000年历史,至今仍是淡水水源。

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Культурный район Хима
Расположенный в засушливой горной местности на юго-западе Саудовской Аравии, на одном из древних караванных маршрутов Аравийского полуострова, Культурный район Хима содержит значительную коллекцию наскальных изображений, иллюстрирующих сцены охоты, фауну, флору и образ жизни в условиях культурной преемственности на протяжении 7000 лет. Путешественники и армии, разбивавшие лагеря в этой местности, оставляли множество наскальных надписей и петроглифов на протяжении веков и до конца ХХ века, большинство из которых сохранились в первозданном виде. Надписи были выполнены на разных языках, в том числе на муснадском, арамейско-набатейском, южно-арабском, на языке Талмуда, греческом и арабском. Этот объект и его буферная зона также богаты неизведанными археологическими ресурсами в виде кернов, каменных сооружений, захоронений, каменных орудий и древних колодцев. Это место  находится на территории старейшего из известных пропускных пунктов на важном древнем пустынном караванном маршруте, где колодцы Бир Хима датируются по крайней мере 3000 лет и до сих пор являются источниками пресной воды.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Área cultural Ḥimā

El sitio de Ḥimā se halla en una zona montañosa árida del sudoeste de Arabia Saudita por la que pasaba una de las antiguas rutas de las caravanas que transitaban por la Península Arábiga. Este sitio posee un importante conjunto de imágenes rupestres que describen la flora, la fauna, las formas de vida y las actividades cinegéticas humanas a lo largo de un periodo continuado de 7.000 años.

Los viajeros y ejércitos que acampaban en este lugar fueron dejando en todas las épocas, hasta finales del siglo XX, inscripciones y petroglifos que en su mayoría se conservan en su estado primitivo. Las inscripciones están escritas en diferentes alfabetos: sudarábigo antiguo (“musnad”) y moderno, nordarábigo antiguo (“tamúdico”), griego y árabe. En este lugar y en su zona tampón abundan vestigios arqueológicos inexplorados hasta la fecha: mojones, estructuras pétreas, sepulturas, conjuntos de instrumentos de piedra dispersos y pozos abandonados. El sitio se halla en el puesto de peaje más antiguo de una ruta de caravanas ancestral, donde los pozos de Bi’r Ḥimā siguen proporcionando agua dulce sin interrupción desde hace 3.000 años.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Cultural Rock Arts in Himā Najrān © SCTH
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Ḥimā Cultural Area is located in southwest Saudi Arabia on one of the ancient caravan routes of the Arabian Peninsula. The region contains some of the most significant and ancient desert wells in the Middle East. The passage of large armies and myriad caravans through the region has resulted in an unequalled historical "library on rock", comprising vast numbers of rock inscriptions and petroglyphs that reflect Arabia’s history over the duration of the Holocene period. These spectacular petroglyphs cover a period of at least 7000 years, continuing up to the last 30 years. Most are preserved in pristine condition. Inscriptions are in different scripts, including Musnad, Aramaic-Nabatean, South-Arabian, Thamudic, Greek and Arabic.

Criterion (iii): The Ḥimā Cultural Area bears an exceptional testimony to a number of ancient traditions over the span of many millennia, chronicling the history of the Arab people more effectively than any other place and thus representing an immense outdoor library of that history. The property bears an exceptional testimony to a long series of cultural traditions, arguably from the Paleolithic and at the very least to the Neolithic and stretching from then until the present day. Over this long period, the people passing through the region left a pristine record of their presence and passage in the form of rock inscriptions and rock art, the former in some cases describing their lived context and environment, the themes in the rock art reflecting the changing character of the environment and how they adapted to it.

Integrity

The size of the Ḥimā Cultural Area is adequate to ensure the integrity of the property. The six component parts that comprise the serial property – possibly containing more than 100,000 petroglyphs – encompass the region’s largest and most significant concentrations of rock art and rock inscription sites. The property is free from development except for site protection works and the small township of Ḥimā. The archaeological resources within the property remain almost totally intact, as well as the ‘untouched’ nature of the desert landscape. Due to the highly arid environment of the Ḥimā Cultural Area and the Bedouin custodianship since time immemorial, its Outstanding Universal Value has been exceptionally well preserved.

Authenticity

The rock art and rock inscriptions within the property retain the qualities of their original form and design, and notably remain in their original location and setting within the desert environment. To some extent even their traditional function within a cultural tradition has been preserved.

The authenticity of the petroglyphs is clear from their patinated condition, state of weathering and fractures in rock panels that have been determined to postdate the images. Other scientific work as well as stylistic similarities with direct-dated rock art elsewhere in Saudi Arabia also confirm their authenticity. Some engravings have been “refreshed,” as certain sections have been re-pecked. However, most of these were done in ancient times and could be considered part of their authenticity, as they manifest the active role these images played in the lives of people. The rock inscriptions are fresher and brighter than most of the rock art. There are several different recognizable types of script, the older ones being more patinated. Some of the inscriptions describe events that occurred at known dates. The location, width and depth of the wells at Bi’r Ḥimā are original, but the above-ground walling is recently built to ensure safety. The well walls and paths around the site are recent additions that are fully reversible.

Protection and management requirements

The Ḥimā Cultural Area and its buffer zone are protected and managed by the Heritage Commission, Ministry of Culture. They are in the ownership of the Government of Saudi Arabia. The rock art and inscriptions within the property are protected as an archaeological monument. The property is protected at the highest level within its jurisdiction by Royal Decree and by the Law for Antiquities.

For the effective monitoring, conservation, protection and management of the property, a database of maps and consistent site records for all sites inventoried within the property and the buffer zone are being compiled and made internally accessible to staff. The Management Plan (2018) includes clear sets of objectives and responsibilities identified, though there is a need for certain specialized staff with training in heritage management, archaeology and rock art conservation. The Tourism Management Plan (2018) addresses the potential growth in tourism in a sensible and practical way. A conservation management strategy should be created, implemented and integrated into the management plan of the property along with a monitoring program that identifies measurable key indicators, periodicity and responsible authorities. Capacity building is required in the fields of archaeology, heritage management and rock art conservation in order to implement the monitoring, conservation and management plans and programs. Heritage Impact Assessments are required to be carried out for any projects related to tourism activities and infrastructures at Najd Khayran before they are implemented.