© HERITAGE COMMISSION AND MARTA LUCIANI, QURAYYAH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT
MIDIANITE CAPITAL? The site of Qurayyah, in northwest Saudi Arabia, was possibly the center of the legendary land of Midian, where biblical history situates the wilderness of the Exodus story and Moses’s first encounter with Yahweh. Although the site’s biblical connections cannot yet be confirmed, recent archaeological exploration has revealed an ancient desert oasis that thrived for thousands of years. Excavated buildings, water systems, and artifacts paint a picture of a vibrant urban settlement that maintained strong links with the southern Levant and the major powers of the ancient Near East. Qurayyah’s majestic rock plateau (top of photo) was the focus of ceremonial and funerary activities from at least the late fourth millennium BCE.