In the shifting sands of Saudi Arabia outside the city of Thaj, archaeologists discovered the tomb of a young royal girl buried nearly 2,000 years ago, uncovering exquisite jewelry, a haunting gold mask and other objects—all made of gold. These funerary treasures are just a few of the surprising discoveries on display in the fascinating exhibition Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, opening Oct. 24, 2014 through Jan. 18, 2015 at the Asian Art Museum.

The Asian Art Museum will offer West Coast audiences a first look at Roads of Arabia, a traveling exhibition originating from Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 2012, featuring recent archaeological discoveries that have radically transformed our understanding of Saudi Arabia. The exhibition includes more than 200 objects, revealing the peninsula’s role as a cultural crossroads through trade and pilgrimage over thousands of years.

Highlights of the exhibition include mysterious stone steles, monumental statues and finely forged bronze figures. A set of gilded doors that once graced the entrance to the Ka‘ba, Islam’s holiest sanctuary, is also featured.

“Roads of Arabia offers a rare look at arts and artifacts from Saudi Arabia, with the oldest artifact dating more than a million years old,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “This exhibition will alter your perceptions of the Arabian Peninsula’s ancient history by providing a glimpse into its largely unknown past, before the region emerged as the spiritual center of an expanding community especially important to Muslims around the world.”

Saudi Arabia’s richly layered past begins more than a million years ago. Research has emerged that identifies the presence of early indigenous cultures across the peninsula.

The exhibition showcases stone tools that date back more than one million years—some of the oldest excavated evidence of human history. 415.581.3500 or

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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