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Eye of Riyadh
Tourism & Hospitality | Sunday 8 February, 2015 7:48 am |

SCTA moves to protect archaeological, heritage sites

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has warned citizens and residents against harming or looting any archaeological site in the country, including those located at sea, as part of their efforts to protect national heritage digs and buildings.
In a bid to prevent archaeological places of interest from being harmed, the SCTA has devised new and strict regulations to deal with offenders who damage these sites in any way, with fines of up to SR100,000, an SCTAs source told local media.

The SCTA is collaborating with the Ministries of Interior and Municipal and Rural Affairs to approve procedures on ways to deal with heritage buildings and archaeological digs under threat.
According to one of the new provisions, inflicting harm on heritage locations, or taking stones or earth from the site without authorization, will be punishable by law.
The SCTA also stressed that anyone who discovers heritage pieces, or knows about them, should notify the commission or the nearest government authority as soon as possible.

“We stress the importance of refraining from doing any work inside urban heritage locations until receiving the commission’s consent. This work includes total or partial destruction, laying water, electricity, gas, telecommunication or road works, in addition to anything that might change the external form of heritage locations, its buildings or overturn its heritage layers,” a source told local media.

The commission considers marine heritage pieces equally important, with a special provision to protect fixed or transferable pieces, whether already discovered or still buried under the seafloor. As per new regulations, anyone who stumbles upon an archaeological piece or location under water or in a shipwreck, must notify the nearest government authority within a week and leave the site untouched.
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