Today, the Sharjah Archaeology Museum, in partnership with the Institut français in the United Arab Emirates and the Cultural Department of the French Embassy with the support of UNESCO, opened an exhibition that celebrates a 40-year partnership with French archaeologists to unearth the hidden secrets of the UAE's past.
The exhibition was inaugurated by H.H Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, and H.E Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador to the UAE. The exhibition was attended by H.E Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority and official from the French Embassy and a number of VIP guests. Total is a sponsor of this project.
Entitled 40 Years of Emirati – French Archaeological Cooperation, the exhibition features more than 100 priceless objects excavated by the French Archaeological Mission to the UAE since it began its work in 1977.
The vast collection of objects, including intricately decorated pottery, jewelry, incense burners, and weaponry, is hugely significant in shedding light on the UAE's role as a cradle of civilization and center of trade routes over some 7,500 years.
Running until to January 31, 2018, the exhibition celebrates a historic partnership that has linked the UAE and France for 40 years. Over this period, teams led by the French Archaeological Mission have worked in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm al Quwain on the most significant excavations carried out in the country.
H.E. Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador to the UAE, stated: "It is with great pride that France has co-organized this event with the Sharjah Archaeology Museum, in collaboration with the authorities of five Emirates where searches were undertaken by the French mission, whom I sincerely thank. It is an honor to benefit from the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, whom I warmly thank the French mission for this exhibition. I am also grateful to Dr. Sophie Méry, Director of the French Archaeological Mission, who assumed the role of commissioner of this exhibition with devotion and passion. Such an anniversary could not be celebrated without an exhibition of the discoveries that the collaboration between our two countries has made possible.
He added: “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. Because our common fight against extremism is more powerful through culture and education, it is my sincere wish that this exhibition will contribute to engaging youth in the discovery of the Emirate’s rich history and encourage them to pursue professions in this field.”