Major mode - Social anthropology, ethnoecology and evolutionary biology: new researches in the north-western desert of the Kingdom.

In 2019, begin two distinct projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the oasis of al-‘Ulā.

The oasis of al-‘Ulā, capital of the governorate of the same name, is part of Madīna Province, located in north-western Saudi Arabia. Al-‘Ulā, ancient city of Dādān in the wadi al-Qura, was the capital of the Lihyan empire on the incense road. It is located about twenty kilometers from Madāʾin Ṣāliḥ which hosts the Nabataean site al-Ḥijr classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Al-‘Ulā, which is now a modern urban area of about 40,000 inhabitants in a narrow valley, hewn through the sandstone (and basalt) plateau, still has its former walled urban center (al-Dīra) with hundreds of tightly packed mud-brick and stone houses, on a higher part of the valley in order to be clear from the floods.

Two research projects: al-Ulā-AS (Anthropological Survey) + al-Ulā-DPA (Date Palm Agrobiodiv.):

 al-Ulā-AS: Anthropological survey of al-‘Ulā community and its oasis system.
PI: Vincent Battesti

 al-Ulā-DPA: Ethnographic, genetic, and morphometric analyses of the date palm agrobiodiversity in al-‘Ulā oasis
co-PIs.: Vincent Battesti & Muriel Gros-Balthazard (NYU-AD, New York University in Abu Dhabi).

Both projects are funded by Afalula, the French Agency for the Development of al-Ula, which is backed by the RCU, the Royal Commission for AlUla.