Dating of Stratified Settlement Remains in Faid Pilgrim Station, Northwest of Saudi Arabia


  • Ahmed Nassr University of Ha'il
  • Ahmed Elhassan University of Ha'il
  • Mohammed al-Hajj University of Ha'il
  • Ali Tueaiman University of Ha'il



Saudi Arabia, Faid, Darb Zubaydah, stratigraphy, C14, artefacts, Abbasid period


Faid was a major pilgrim Islamic oasis located 120 km southeast of the Ha’il Province, northwest of Saudi Arabia. It was founded on the major Hajj Road between Baghdad/Kufa and Medina and was developed by Zubaydah bint Ja'far, granddaughter to the Caliph Abu Ja'far al-Mansur (the founder of Baghdad) and wife to the fifth Abbasid Caliph, Harun Ar-Rašid 775–785 CE. Therefore, during the reign of Harun Ar-Rašid Caliph, the major pilgrim road was renamed from Darb Heerah to Darb Zubaydah. The archaeological site in Faid was referenced and described by several travellers and scholars and excavated by the Heritage Commission, Ministry of Culture, Saudi Arabia 1998–2012. From 2014–2022, the University of Ha’il conducted nine fieldwork seasons at the site. The authors directed the last four seasons, which revealed numerous new discoveries from stratified excavations. This study aims to reconstruct the occupation chronology at the site based on stratigraphic contexts and supported by radiocarbon dating, artefact studies, and written resources. Three occupation horizons were identified at the site; the early Abbasid period was the dominant occupation. The resulting radiocarbon calibrated ages were consistent with the preliminary archaeological studies carried out by the authors. The results presented in this paper represent an attempt to reconstruct the chronology of the study site.

Author Biographies

  • Ahmed Nassr, University of Ha'il

    Ahmed Nassr (PhD 2016, University of Khartoum, Sudan) is Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism and Archaeology, University of Ha'il, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His research interest encompasses Paleolithic archaeology, human origin, and dispersal out of Africa and Arabia, Middle-late Pleistocene and Holocene cultural adaptation in northern Africa and Arabia.

  • Ahmed Elhassan, University of Ha'il

    Ahmed Elhassan (PhD 1997, University of Southampton, UK) is Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism and Archaeology, University of Ha'il, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His research interest is in archaeological ceramics and practical archaeology.

  • Mohammed al-Hajj, University of Ha'il

    Mohammed al-Hajj (PhD 2017, University of King Saud, Saudi Arabia) is Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism and Archaeology, University of Ha'il, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His research interest is in Ancient Epigraphy of Arabia.

  • Ali Tueaiman , University of Ha'il

    Ali Tueaiman (PhD 2018, University of King Saud, Saudi Arabia) is Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism and Archaeology, University of Ha'il, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His research interest is in Ancient Arabian architecture.


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How to Cite

Nassr, A., Elhassan, A., al-Hajj, M., & Tueaiman , A. (2023). Dating of Stratified Settlement Remains in Faid Pilgrim Station, Northwest of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 10(1), 37-52.