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ARCHAEOLOGY OF MECCA
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There is no archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca is an ancient town that existed before the Christian era, or even that it existed before about the 4th century A.D.
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Here's a Wikipedia article on Ancient Towns in Saudi Arabia. Mecca is not on the list because there is no evidence of Mecca being an ancient town.
When we consider the historical record of Mecca on the home page, and the geographical location of Mecca on the preceding page, this dearth of archaeological evidence should not come as a surprise. Indeed Mecca was so desperately dry and pastureless that the geographers and historians of antiquity described the area where Mecca was eventually built as being uninhabitable. Even today Mecca only receives about 1/10 of the rainfall that Yemen does. Folks could not have survived in Mecca until long after the spice route had been firmly established, and Mecca's inhabitants could make their living from trade.
Some of Mohammed's followers try to lodge an "argument from ignorance" or "argumentum ad ignorantiam", suggesting that just because there is no evidence that Mecca existed prior to the Christian era, doesn't mean that it didn't exist. Is that a reasonable argument to attempt in the first place, considering Mecca's role as the supposed geographical epicenter of Mohammed's religion since Adam, and in light of other ancient Arabian cities being well attested in the historical and archaeological records of Arabia?
If you find reference to some archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca existed before the 4th century A.D., even though the actual historical record suggests that immigrants from Yemen settled the area, please join us in the forum and share it with us.
One Muslim was kind enough to join the forum to point out there is suggestion that in the very ancient history of Arabia, it may have contained a large body of water and even several trails, while stone carved pictographs in the archaeological record suggest wild cattle. However thousands of years before Abraham walked the earth, Arabia began to desertify from the north to the south, rendering it a vast, dry, barren, wasteland, with that desertification completed by 2,000 BC, sealing the peninsula. As mentioned on another page of this site the trade route along the Red Sea was not established until about the 6th to 8th century BC, and prior to that time spices from Yemen were moved to the north by ship, until piracy became so prevalent that an overland route was sought. Even the town of Medina (Yatrib) may not have been established until about the 6th century BC. According to various sources it wasn't until about 1200 to 1000 BC, that camel transport arose in Arabia. That would have been at least 500 to 700 years after Ishmael walked the earth.
The following link is to one of the papers on Dr. Rafat Amari's site that resulted from his 20-year full-time study of Mecca, Arabia and Islam, which included study of original source material in the Middle East. Dr. Amari's first language is Arabic.
The History and Archaeology of Arabia Show That Mecca Did Not Exist Before the Advent of Christianity (discussion)
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