The AlUla region in northwestern Saudi Arabia has been on everyone’s radar.
But what if there was more to it than meets the eye? In National Geographic’s new documentary ‘Lost Treasures of Arabia: The Ancient City of Dadan’, we get a captivating snapshot of an elite group of archaeologists at Dadan as they work to piece together the history of this lost kingdom.
Battling the clock, the elements, and the beautiful yet unforgiving terrain, the archaeologists make startling revelations as they literally dig up Dadan’s 2,000-year-old history from the rubble of myth and mystery.
Don’t miss these five must-see discoveries unearthed from the latest documentary:
The sandstone sentinel: Was Dadan an ancient megacity much like present-day London or New York? All signs say so. The documentary records the recent discovery of a sandstone sentinel that welcomed travelers to the city. The discovery lays the groundwork to introduce the complex layout of the city of Dadan – its imposing walls, protected access points, urban sprawl, trading colonies, and a monolithic 50-tonne basin carved from a single stone at the foot of a temple, all signaling a vibrant, multi-cultural metropolis.
The cursive curse: In a dramatic reveal at what is believed to be a funerary complex, a stone tablet with cursive Dadanic writing spells out a curse on those who disturb the dead. Undeterred by the threat of divine retribution, the archaeologists continue to make yet another startling discovery – one that leads to more questions about the people of Dadan.
The stairway to nowhere: The documentary follows the archaeologists as they climb an imposing ancient stairway carved into the side of the mountains surrounding Dadan. The long climb, set against an increasingly precarious drop, begs the question – what is hidden at the summit?
The great wall: The archaeologists reveal a wall, preserved to a height of 4 meters and spanning the width of the valley, leading to the city of Dadan. The wall fortified Dadan and acted as a shield between the ancient city and external threats. Despite its protective presence and an elaborate defense system including guardians stationed in the surrounding mountains, Dadan still succumbed to an unknown force. Who or what was it?
The downfall of Dadan: Watch as the team races against time to discover the reasons for the destruction of Dadan. As they sift through evidence, it becomes clear that Dadan experienced a sudden and catastrophic end, destroying a city that had defied its arid environs to flourish into an economic, cultural, and social hub. The experts painstakingly piece the puzzle together, but will they make it in time?
‘Lost Treasures of Arabia: The Ancient City of Dadan’ is directed by Dirk Verheye and Inti Calfat, and executive produced by National Geographic’s Iván Bouso and Rajul Chauhan in association with the Royal Commission for AlUla.
The show premieres on Monday, 13 March, at 11 PM UAE and 10 PM KSA, only on National Geographic.