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  • Writer's pictureHilary McCormack

The Petroglyphs of Masil and the surrounding Quartz fields

Updated: Nov 14, 2023


November 2023: I would like to share a photo journal of my weekend exploring the Wadi Masil area, which is an approximately 8-kilometer-long dry valley basin across the Jabal Al-Jimh, a scraggy hilly ridge located 200 kilometers west of Riyadh. This area was a part of my most recent off-road trip.


I also visited some quartz fields and marveled at the discovery of important petroglyphs in this area.

Rock Carving - Picture courtesy of Alan Morrissey Riyadh Rovers

During the weekend, we visited some well-known areas that are significant to archeologists and epigraphists. These areas are home to several important sites that contain ancient carvings etched into rocks. More details on the history of the petroglyphs can be found here.


These carvings are considered some of the most significant historical inscriptions in the Riyadh Province as they provide detailed accounts of the conquests of ancient Yemeni kings throughout the Arabian Peninsula. We had a great time exploring and off-road driving, and the experience was truly fascinating.


On Friday, we left Riyadh at 8.30 am and traveled 314 km west; on Saturday, we covered 303km, returning to Riyadh in the late afternoon. We camped overnight and brought provisions for one dinner, two lunches, and one breakfast. The sky looked ominous at times, but we didn't have rain.


This area looks like a sea-shell-covered beach but is, in fact, a bright and far-reaching Quartz field.

Quartz is one of the most common minerals on earth, it is said to emit healing energy and sells for 300 US$ per kilo

Driving in a convoy of six car, the sweeper is in my rear view!

Camels returning home from a day of grazing

The essence of life in these parts is the Water Truck.

We met lots of friendly locals keen to share the history of the area with us and learn more about us.


A moody sky at sunrise

Preparing for Camp


A farmer taking his 'kids' for a drive.

There are lots of thorny acacia trees in this area, not great for your paintwork!


This weekend, we got to see lots of animals and met lots of local people in a completely different natural environment. Despite a long hot summer, this area was quite green.

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