Thursday 7 December 2023

AlUla World Archaeology Summit unveils impressive speaker lineup

AL ULA (Saudi Arabia), September 2, 2023

The AlUla World Archaeology Summit has announced an outstanding roster of leading Saudi and international speakers and delegates for its inaugural edition, taking place in AlUla from September 13 to 15.
The Summit will convene at AlUla’s spectacular Maraya multi-purpose venue, which holds the Guinness World Record as the largest mirrored building (9,740 glass panels). 
Experts who are scheduled to be among the Summit’s 80+ speakers include:
From KSA: Manal AlDowayan (Visual Artist); Dr Jasir Alherbish (CEO, Saudi Heritage Commission); Prof. Daif Allah AlTalhi (Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, University of Hail) and Prof. Suleiman Altheeb (Professor Emeritus of Ancient Arabian Scripts and Languages, King Saud University). 
From abroad: Prof. Shadreck Chirikure (Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Oxford, UK); Jyoti Hosagrahar (Deputy Director, World Heritage Center, Unesco); Prof. Zeidan Kafafi (Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, Yarmouk University, Jordan); Prof. Toshiyuki Kono (Professor Emeritus of Private International Law, Kyushu University); Dr Gary Martin (Founder and Senior Advisor, Global Diversity Foundation); Dr Denise Pozzi-Escot (Director, Pachacamac Site Museum, Peru); Timothy Whalen (Director, Getty Conservation Institute) and Dennis Wuthrich (Founder and CEO Farallon Geographics, US).
Other luminaries scheduled to appear at the Summit include Bettany Hughes, the British historian and presenter of numerous documentaries on ancient history, and Levison Wood, world-renowned explorer, writer and photographer who has written eleven best-selling books and produced several critically acclaimed documentaries.
In all, the summit will include more than 300 attendees, who will engage with a variety of subjects intended to inspire visionary, heritage-based solutions to contemporary problems across sectors. Examples of panel discussion topics include “Archaeology Weaves an Interconnected World” and “Saving Archaeology One TikTok at a Time.”
The Summit is an initiative of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), which is leading the comprehensive regeneration of AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. Archaeological research and conservation are cornerstones of the project, which aims to attract 2 million visitors a year to AlUla by 2035. 
Dr Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, Executive Director of Archaeology, Conservation and Collections at RCU, said: "The AlUla World Archaeology Summit is drawing great interest worldwide, with speakers spanning the globe from America and Australia to Jordan and Japan."
"We welcome them to share knowledge on the Summit’s four themes: Identity, Ruinscapes, Resilience and Accessibility. Their presence aligns with AlUla’s legacy as a crossroads of civilisations, where people have exchanged ideas from far and wide,"  he added.
Delegates will also participate in excursions of AlUla’s key heritage sites, many of which are also undergoing active archaeological excavation. 
Although AlUla is best known for the Nabataean tombs of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage site, since 2018 project teams have recorded thousands of archaeological sites across AlUla and Khaybar. 
More sites are set to be explored in the region by archaeological research institutions, universities, and companies from KSA and around the world. 
This autumn there are 11 projects conducting fieldwork across AlUla County and neighbouring Khaybar, involving 150 to 200 archaeologists and associated specialists, which constitutes one of the world’s most active archaeological research undertakings.


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