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First Saudi antiquities forum opens next week

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, addressing a press conference at the National Museum on Monday. (Photo courtesy: Bader Al-Hamad)
RIYADH : The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) will organize the first National Antiquities Forum next week, from Nov. 7 to 9, in Riyadh under the patronage of King Salman.
Addressing a press conference at the National Museum on Monday, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTH, said the forum would be organized under the umbrella of the Program for Caring of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage.
The opening ceremony and the exhibition will be held at the National Museum, while a scientific conference and workshops will be held at the library and hall at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center, he added.
The SCTH president said the major aims of the maiden forum will document and highlight the efforts exerted by the leadership of the country as well as government agencies and individuals in caring for the Kingdom’s antiquities throughout history.
It further aims to raise awareness, promote national belonging among citizens, educate Saudi youths about what monuments are about; what the country has as its cultural heritage, and highlight the position of the Kingdom nationally, regionally and internationally in terms of history and civilization.
The forum will feature a scientific conference during which a number of working papers covering different historic periods, from prehistory until the end of the 14th century of the Hijri calendar, will be presented.
Themes for the scientific conference include pre-history antiquities, ancient rock art, trade and Hajj routes, antiquities of the Arabian peninsula before Islam, antiquities of the Islamic eras, sunken antiquities, ancient Islamic writings, oral heritage sites and job opportunities in cultural heritage.
Moreover, the workshops to be held during the forum will discuss specific issues in the field of antiquities, such as modern techniques in archaeology, restoration, rehabilitation and development of archaeological sites, the role of media and citizens in raising awareness on the importance of antiquities, preservation of antiquities, and counterfeiting of antiquities and alleged treasures.
A number of exhibitions will be held at the National Museum lasting for 50 days from the date of the launch of the forum.
They include a recovered antiquities exhibition, one on latest archaeological discoveries, a historical photo gallery, a Saudi Geological Survey exhibition, a commemorative stamp show, a fine arts exhibition and a Saudi handicraft show.
Moreover, a number of projects will be launched during the forum including an inauguration of the latest issues of the Saudi Antiquities Yearbook (Atlal), and an inauguration of an antiquities register and archaeological records.

Winners
The SCTH chief announced the winners of the Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari award for best serving the Saudi heritage and antiquities in different categories.
The winners include Al-Turath Charitable Foundation, Sheikh Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari, Sheikh Mohammed bin Bilaihad, Sheikh Hamd Al-Jasir and Abdullah bin Hasan Masri among Saudi pioneers, and Sheikh Abdullah Feilbi in non-Saudi pioneers.
In the young pioneers category Abdullah bin Ali Al-Zahrani and Khaled bin Fayez Al-Asmari were named winners, while among non-Saudis the winners include Romelo Loretto (Italian) and Jerome Romer (French).
The SCTH also announced partnership agreements between the Commission and the Customs Authority and Saudi Postal Corporation in the field of antiquities restoration.

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