Sharjah Museums Department showcases archaeological processes

Staff Reporter
Filed on May 14, 2014
Sharjah Museums Department showcases archaeological processes

The new exhibition titled “From Site to Museum ... The Journey of an Archaeological Artefact” which began on May 7 will be on until September 7.

Have you wondered how archaeologists discover a historical site, process dig finds, clean the artefacts they’ve discovered, and eventually place it in the museum?

Manal Ataya and Dr Sabah Jasem during the opening of the exhibition, ‘From the Site to Museum... A Journey of an Archaeological Artefact’, at the Sharjah Archaeology Museum on May 7. —  KT photos by M. Sajjad

“It is painstaking work and it is extremely interesting to keep looking at these pieces and parts, till it becomes whole,” said Dr Sabah Jasim, head of archaeology excavation mission and Director of Antiquities, Sharjah Museums Department.

The work involved in the journey of unearthing relics from an archaeological site till they reach the public is being displayed at the Sharjah Archaeology Museum.

The new exhibition titled “From Site to Museum ... The Journey of an Archaeological Artefact” which began on May 7 will be on until September 7.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to connect visitors to Sharjah’s history by educating them about the archaeological processes that take place from the moment an ancient artefact is unearthed at a dig site to the time it is displayed at the Sharjah Archaeology Museum,” said Nasir Al Darmaki, Curator.

The opening of the exhibition, on May 7, was attended by Mohammed Diab Al Mousa, Advisor at the Amiri Diwan; Manal Ataya, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Department; Dr Sabah Jasem, and Nasir Al Darmaki.

This exhibition will be presented in three main sections: The first will depict archaeologists’ discovery of a find, and how the artefact is cleaned, processed, and carefully prepared for transport from the dig site.

The second section will follow the artefact on its journey to a lab and introduce visitors to the technology used by experts to clean, restore, validate and date the artefact, as well as research its original purpose in the context of the time and culture from which it was first used. The exhibition concludes by presenting the artefact in its final resting place as part of the museum’s permanent collection and a legacy to the emirate’s future residents.

“A large section of the society still is not appreciative of an archaeologist’s work. There is a lot of work behind the scenes and one of the main purposes of this exhibition is to educate the public about the hard work put in by archaeologists to put together pieces of history,” added Al Darmaki. But unlike before, there is an increased interest in the subject of archeology, especially among young Emiratis.

“A lot of young Emiratis are choosing to learn archaeology. Locally there are two universities — Zayed University and UAE University. However, a lot of youngsters are going outside the country to learn archaeology, as well,” he added.

Commenting on the exhibition, Manal Ataya, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Department remarked: “Sharjah is rich in archaeological sites and we at SMD certainly hope the exhibition will inspire some of our Emirate’s students to pursue future study of history and archaeology.”

She added: “Much of what we know about our past through material culture is owed to the dedicated work of archaeologists. Archaeology is the only field of study that covers all time periods and all geographic regions inhabited by humans. This exhibition takes visitors behind the scenes of an archaeological site — from the excitement of finding an artefact, to the detailed process of restoration, up to the moment an artefact is interpreted and displayed on view to the public.”

In Sharjah, advancements in archaeological technology have helped researchers discover artefacts proving that human beings lived in the region as far back as 125,000 years ago, which is the oldest proof of human life within the UAE’s borders.

Multiple sites have been discovered in the Emirate over the past 40 years and as a result Sharjah Archaeology Museum currently houses around 90,000 rare artefacts including currency, weaponry, jewellery, agricultural tools, and household crockery.

“From Site to Museum … The Journey of an Archaeological Artefact” has been curated with the intention of connecting the emirate’s current residents to all those who lived and thrived in Sharjah before them.

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