Sharjah Archaeology Museum and Institut français in the United Arab Emirates / Cultural Department of the French Embassy host a selection of 100 ancient objects discovered by French archaeologists in the UAE.
SHARJAH, October 14, 2017: The fortieth anniversary of a fruitful archaeological partnership between the UAE and France will be celebrated at an upcoming exhibition held at Sharjah Archaeology Museum with the support of UNESCO.
Entitled 40 Years of Archaeological Cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and France, this unique exhibition will feature more than 100 objects excavated by the French Archaeological Mission since it began its work in the UAE in 1977.
Running from October 18, 2017 to January 31, 2018, the exhibition is curated by Dr. Sophie Mery, Director of the French Archaeological Mission to the UAE. Organized jointly by Sharjah Archaeology Museum, Institut français in the United Arab Emirates and the French archaeological mission to the United Arab Emirates, the exhibition showcases objects lent by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, Ras-al-Khaimah Department of Antiquities and museums, Sharjah Archaeology Authority and Umm-al-Quwayn Department of Archaeology and Heritage.
The vast collection of pottery, jewellery, incense burners, weaponry, and much more has greatly expanded the understanding of the UAE’s ancient history.
H.E. Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador to the UAE, stated: “It is with great pride that France has co-organized this event with the Sharjah Archaeology Museum, in collaboration with the authorities of five Emirates where the French mission undertook searches, whom I sincerely thank. It is an honour to benefit from the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, whom I warmly thank, for this exhibition. I am also grateful to Dr. Sophie Méry, Director of the French Archaeological Mission, who assumed the role of commissioner of this exhibition with devotion and passion. Such an anniversary could not be celebrated without an exhibition of the discoveries that the collaboration between our two countries has made possible.
He added: “I am delighted that this ambitious cultural and scientific project, of a federal nature, could be accomplished as this exhibition reveals the formidable work of the French and Emirati archaeologists who have zealously worked to understand and shed light on the great richness, originality, and variety of the Emirati archaeological past. For our common fight against extremism is more powerful through culture and education, it is my sincere wish that this exhibition will contribute to engaging the youth in the discovery of the rich Emirati history and encourage them to pursue professions in this field.”
H.E. Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: “The Sharjah Archaeology Museum is honoured to celebrate our historic archaeological partnership with France that has contributed over the past 40 years to significant excavation missions in the UAE. “The exhibition is testament to the close cooperation between multiple organisers and institutional partners. Sharjah Museums Department would like to extend its sincere thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially the incredible team led by Dr. Sophie Méry.”
She added: “Visitors to this one of a kind exhibition will leave with a greater understanding of the work of professional archaeologists, the stories behind important discoveries, and the UAE’s unique contribution to the history of this region over thousands of years.”
Teams led by French archaeologists began excavations in 1977 at Jebel Hafit, Hili and Rumeilah in the Eastern region of Abu Dhabi emirate. In 1985, the work extended to sites in Sharjah, Umm al Quwain and Ra’s-al Khaimah, and in 1999 to Fujairah.
The exhibition will display a unique selection of objects recovered over this period in the five emirates. Highlights include the “Emirates Pearl” – the oldest pearl found in the world – from the Neolithic period, an etched carnelian bead from the Bronze Age, an incense burner in shape of standing man with raised arms from Iron Age, a silver coin from the late Pre-Islamic Period and a Pilgrim flask from the 15th century.
Visitors will take part in workshops that explain the work of archaeologists, while guided tours will reveal the story behind the objects and their context within five ages of the UAE’s ancient history: Neolithic, Iron, Bronze, Pre-Islamic and Islamic.
With special thanks and gratitude to the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.