Sheikh Mansour opens archaeology conference

Abu Dhabi, 1st March 2009 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, opened today the Second International Conference on UAE Archaeology and the 10th annual scientific forum of the History and Archaeology Society of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Delivering the opening address, H.E. Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, said the first archaeological team in the UAE started its works fifty years ago on the invitation by the late Sheikh Shakbout bin Sultan Al Nahyah, the then ruler of Abu Dhabi.

”A Danish archaeological team led by P.V.Glob arrived in the country and started its excavation work on 20 February 1959 at the island of Umm al-Nar. A settlement and a cemetery of 50 tombs dated back to the second half of the third millennium Before Christ were discovered. This ancient history of the UAE was called the Umm an-Nar Civilisation,”the minister added.

”As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first archaeological excavations in the UAE on the island of Umm al-Nar in 1959, we paid tribute for all the archaeological teams whose tireless efforts have placed the UAE on the map of civilisations given its historical and archaeological depth,”he said.

The Minister welcomed the elite of archaeologists, historians and researchers to the conference, hoping that their studies would shed more light on the UAE archaeology.

Called “Fifty Years after Umm al-Nar: The Second International Conference on the Archaeology of the United Arab Emirates” : is being held by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour.

More than 170 scholars will attend and 23 research papers will be presented at the conference. Nearly 200 scholars will attend the two events.

The conference programme covers both the history of excavations in the Emirates and the results of recent research, stretching from the earliest days of human occupation, in the Palaeolithic period, over 150,000 years ago, up to the Late Islamic period in the 18th and 19th Centuries AD. A brief overview will also be given of the history of exploration for fossils from the Late Miocene period, 6-8 million years ago.

Academics attending the conference from overseas come from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Italy, India and Japan, with locally-based archaeologists from throughout the UAE also taking part.