Determining where is Mt Sinai in Saudi Arabia is elusive. The country only recently has been serious about archaeology.
I first visited Saudi Arabia in the mid 1960s when King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud had just taken up his leadership of the Kingdom. King Faisal was a man of great vision and deep humanity. He sought knowledge and education for his people and declared that no country that disregarded its history could expect to be taken seriously.
At the time of his accession very little was known about the country’s pre-Islamic past. This was partly because anything before the dawn of Islam in the 7th century AD was regarded as ‘The Age of Ignorance’ and thus best ignored.
The present Department of Antiquities stands on the foundations laid by the Supreme Council for Antiquities
and Museums. I feel honoured and privileged to be the present Head of the Deputy Ministry of Antiquities and
Museums in the Kingdom. The legacy has changed now, and we are proud of what we have achieved in the
last thirty years in all fields of archaeology. In 1975 the Department consisted of only a few employees, with Dr.
Masry as the sole Saudi archaeologist. Now, in 2004, we have a large team of graduate Saudi archaeologists,
some of them with Masters and Doctoral degrees from Saudi, European, and American universities.
It is important to remember that the Saudi government only very recently loosened restrictions on archaeological excavation. The country only held its first archaeology conference in October 2017, where the speakers emphasized that little digging has ever been done and that massive amounts of artifacts are expected to lie beneath the surface.