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Abu Dhabi Hosts UAE Archaeology Conference

posted on 14/04/2001: 1672 views

A major international conference on the archaeology of the United Arab Emirates opens in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi tomorrow (April 15). Organised by the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, part of the Emirates Heritage Club, in association with the Ministry of Information & Culture, the conference, entitled "The First International Conference on the Archaeology of the Emirates,” is being held under the patronage of UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It lasts until 18th April.

Over forty leading scholars of Gulf Archaeology will attend the conference, with over thirty papers due to be presented. These will cover a wide range of topics, from the earliest occupation of the UAE in the late stone age, around 7500 years ago, until the late Islamic period, in the 18th century ad.

In the forty years or so since archaeological investigations in the emirates got under way in 1959, scholars from many nations have worked on sites throughout the country, and many of these will be taking part in the conference, as well as representatives of local departments of antiquities.

Among those presenting papers will be archaeologists from Australia, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Britain, the United States and Iraq, as well as from the UAE. Top antiquities officials from a number of Arab countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar are also due to attend the event. Visits to some key archaeological sites in the country are also included as part of the conference programme.

The conference is divided into a number of sessions, covering the late stone age, the bronze age, the iron age, the late pre-Islamic period and the Islamic period, while there will also be a special session on the application of scientific Techniques to archaeology. Although scientific papers on the results of archaeological studies in the UAE are regularly presented at conferences overseas, this week's Abu Dhabi conference will be the first event of its kind to take place in the country. One objective of the organisers is to provide an opportunity for the archaeologists themselves to get together to discuss the results of recent work and to review the priorities for future research.

The director of the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History, Dr. Hasan Naboodah, said in an interview that he was delighted at the level of interest in the conference. "Many of the top specialists in the archaeology of the UAE are attending the conference, and much previously undisclosed information about the Country's heritage will be revealed,” he said. "As president h. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan has noted: "A people that does not know its past has neither present nor future.” "This event will make a major contribution to knowledge of our past,” he added. "At the same time, the presence of so many top antiquities officials from elsewhere in the Arab world will help to gain greater recognition throughout the region for the archaeological discoveries that have been made here in the emirates.”

Dr. Naboodah also thanked Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed for his support for the conference. "Sheikh Sultan first conceived the idea of holding this conference nearly a year and a half ago, and has given continual support throughout the long process of planning,” he said. The papers to be presented at the conference will later be published, in both Arabic and English, by the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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