By: Amal Farhan
40 years of archaeological mission between the United Arab Emirates and France has finally and successfully come to an end. To honor the mission and celebrate this milestone an exhibition is being held for a duration of 4 months. It was inaugurated on 18, October 2017 by the ruler of Sharjah, H.H Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi and the French Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, H.E Ludovic Pouille. The event will carry through until the 31st of January. A commemoration of a wonderful partnership which has been an archeological milestone for both countries.
The exhibition is being held at Sharjah Archaeology Museum in hand with Unesco. On exhibit are more than 100 objects excavated by the French Archaeology Mission since it began its work in the U.A.E in 1977. The excursion was curated by Dr. Sophie Mery, Director of French Archaeological Mission to the U.A.E. Objects were recovered from the five emirates and shared for display by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Fujeirah Tourism and Antiquities Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Department of Antiquities and museums, Sharjah Archaeology Authority and Umm-al-Quwwain Department of Archaeology and Heritage.
Ludovic Pouille stated, “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”. He also pointed to the ‘Louvre Abu Dhabi’, the next step in U.A.E-French cultural collaboration.
Highlights include the
1.“Emirates Pearl”- the oldest pearl found in the world. Sophie Mery gets excited talking about the pearl, “The pearl is extraordinary, not because it is most ancient pearl, but because it proves that pearling was in the country that time. They had no jewelry except the pearls”.
2. an etched carnelian bead from the Bronze Age;
3. an incense burner in shape of a standing man with raised arms from Iron Age;
4. a silver coin from the late Pre-Islamic Period and;
5. a Pilgrim flask from the 15th century.
This is the first time that all the artifacts have been displayed together. The archeological world hasn’t witnessed anything like this before. Displayed unearthed objects were from five eras: the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, Pre-Islamic and Islamic periods. The most distinctive part of all this research is that it shows the vibrancy, convolution, and development of life in the country over the course of thousands of years.
Head on over to the Sharjah Archaeology Museum. The exhibit depicts just how life was thousands of years ago and not just ancient people but sophisticated and intellectual indeed.