Reconnaissance a new Palaeolithic site at Al-Huwaidy in Ha’il region, northwest Saudi Arabia

Keywords: Acheulean; lithics; Arabia; Ha’il; bifaces; basalt; Large Cutting Tools (LCT)


Ha’il region in northwest Saudi Arabia is characterized by the presence of oases, flat plains, Paleo-lakes, and lava fields, which are some of the main landscape characteristics in which Palaeolithic sites have been found in the region. It is located on one of the routes of early hominin dispersal across Arabia. The ongoing archaeological research made by the Paleodeserts and Disperse projects have recorded several Acheulean and Middle Palaeolithic sites in such localities as Jubbah basin in the Nefud desert (Groucutt et al. 2021; Petraglia et al. 2015; 2019), yet large parts of the region are still unexplored.

The ground archaeological survey conducted by the authors at Al-Huwaidy village, 70 km southwest of Ha’il town, has led to the discovery of a unique Palaeolithic site on the margin of a palaeo-oasis, close to a volcanic mountain. The archaeological site consists of an agglomeration spread of lithics covering an area of basaltic field and outcrops. Numerous handaxes have been documented on the surface and the profiles of current water canal shafts. The site setting and the quantity and quality of lithics from Large Cutting Tools (LCT), including typical handaxes, foliate handaxes, Acheulean cores and flakes, indicate that the site represents a new and interesting extension of Palaeolithic archaeology in the northwest of Arabia similar to Palaeolithic characteristics in the Jubbah basin. Thus, this discovery has a direct relevance in assessing the distribution of Palaeolithic sites in the Ha’il region, showing that they not only occur in the northern area (Nefud desert), but also in the different landscape (basaltic lava field) in the southern part of the region.

Author Biographies

Ahmed Hamid Nassr, University of Ha'il

Department of Tourism and Archaeology
College of Arts
University of Ha’il
Saudi Arabia

Mohammed al-Hajj, University of Ha'il

Department of Tourism and Archaeology
College of Arts
University of Ha’il
Saudi Arabia

Ali Tueaiman, University of Ha'il

Department of Tourism and Archaeology
College of Arts
University of Ha’il
Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Elhassan, University of Ha'il

Department of Tourism and Archaeology
College of Arts
University of Ha’il
Saudi Arabia


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How to Cite
Nassr, A., al-Hajj, M., Tueaiman, A., & Elhassan, A. (2022). Reconnaissance a new Palaeolithic site at Al-Huwaidy in Ha’il region, northwest Saudi Arabia. Journal of Lithic Studies, 9(1), 14 p.