Doha, April 18 (QNA) - Chief Archaeology Officer at Qatar Museums Ali Jassim Al Kubaisi said today that the state have made a number of achievements om the field of heritage and archaeology, the most prominent of which was the inclusion of Al Zubarah by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Speaking exclusively to Qatar News Agency, Al Kubaisi said that Al Zubarah is one of the most historical sites in Qatar. It was once a prosperous port filled with fishermen and traders. The site dates back to 1760. It consists of a fortified town that has an inner and an outer wall. The site also has a harbor, a sea canal, two screening walls, Murair fort, and Al Zubarah Fort.
Another achievement, Al Kubaisi added, was the launch of the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project four years ago. Today, the world celebrates the International Day For Monuments and Sites which was decided upon by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and was approved by the UNESCO in 1983.
Al Kubaisi said that Qatar Museums, based on directives by HE Chairperson of Qatar Museums Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is working on a comprehensive plan in cooperation with Qatar Tourism Authority to develop the site. He added that they are coordinating with ICOMOS and hope to begin implementing the plan in 2017. The plan includes establishing a center for visitors that would reflect the historical and social value of the site.
He revealed that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment is studying the possibility of whether there were other sites eligible for becoming a world heritage sites. He highlighted in particular Al Reem Reserve, Al Udeid area, and Salwa Bay as ones under consideration.
Al Kubaisi noted that there was strong cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Qatar University (QU) to updating curriculums when it comes to subjects on museums and archaeological sites. He noted that there was also a joint committee formed with QU to establish a department on monuments and archaeology to prepare students for work in that field. He noted that such a specialization requires real skill and preparation to excel at. The department under study will help provide the needs of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Katara, and Qatar Tourism Authority with their needs.
On the project with Sudan, Al Kubaisi said that there was a joint committee from the two countries and a scientific committee that revise every step of the project and prepare a plan for the upcoming year. The scientific committee meets with foreign specialists to work on the annual plan. The committee meet at least twice a day to ensure they achieve their targets.
Al Kubaisi noted that there was one delegation of Qatari specialists, of the 40 in total that come from many nationalities including British, American, French, Swiss, Polish, Italian, German, and Sudanese. The Qatari delegation was the only one using the most modern equipment in the exploration process, he added. Qatar Museums also finances all those delegations and missions. The number of members in each mission ranges from five to 20 depending on many factors including the site of the site and the specialties needed for the site.
He highlighted that one of the missions discovered in one trip that the oldest steel industry in Africa began in Sudan and spread afterwards to the rest of the documented. The discovery was documented after the time found some raw materials and areas for smelting in the site they were examining. On whether there will be plans to announce such discoveries and future ones to the media, he said that there will be a documentary that will showcase the historical value of these sites. The discoveries made will also be showcased on the sidelines of UNESCO meetings.
The missions cover an area of roughly 800 kilometers along river Nile from Khartoum in Sudan all the way to the borders with Egypt. The work covers the time period from prehistoric times onwards to the Middle Ages and the 18th century.
Al Kubaisi added that such initiatives reflects Qatar's commitment to different cultures and civilizations, as well as supporting developmental projects that also bolster the research field positively. He also said that Qatar's financing of the projects included building accommodation for foreign missions to stay at. Those accommodation sites will later be used when preparing those archaeological sites to become tourist attractions. (QNA)