AntiquitiesElinor Nichols holds a piece of
stone carved with ancient letters.
Photo courtesy of Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has joined hands with the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) to encourage the donation and return of Saudi Arabian archeological artifacts currently in private collections around the world.

Saudi Aramco signed an agreement with the SCTA on Dec. 26 to cooperate in recovering valuable heritage artifacts. “The antiquities are national treasures and all efforts to recover them are highly appreciated,” said Prince Sultan ibn Salman, SCTA chairman.

In a letter to retirees, Mae Mozaini, director of Public Affairs at Aramco Services Company in Houston, Texas, said that Aramcons and their dependents had, over the decades, developed a number of collections of Saudi antiquities, large and small, often motivated by a desire to preserve them for posterity. “Saudi Aramco and the SCTA are deeply grateful to all who have rescued and preserved antiquities of the Kingdom,” she said.

She said that Saudi Aramco is extending a special invitation to all who have—or think they may have—such artifacts to consider donating them to the National Museum in Riyadh. The types of artifacts sought are not related to Aramco, but rather they are objects of national historical interest, with an emphasis on pre-Islamic archeological objects.

In return, donors of significant items will receive a Certificate of Appreciation from Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO, and be named, with the artifacts they donated, on a plaque displayed at the Center.

They will also be invited to attend a ceremony of thanks in Riyadh, planned for February 11-13, 2012, followed by a tour of major sites of archeological interest. The ceremony will coincide with the annual National Heritage Festival at Janadriyah, which will include an exhibition of recovered antiquities at the National Museum in Riyadh.

Those who believe they have—or may have—objects that could qualify for a “homecoming” to the Kingdom’s museums, are asked to please do the following before Jan. 16, 2012:

  1. Take a photo or two of the object(s);
  2. E-mail the photo(s) with a brief description of each object, including its provenance, if known, to: [email protected] (or by regular mail: Arthur Clark, Aramco Services Company, MS 546, 9009 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77096).

Donations of significant artifacts will be accepted after Jan. 16, but to be considered to attend the recognition ceremony in Riyadh, individuals must send photos and information about artifacts before that date.