Archaeology as a practice of cultural identity: The work of archaeologists in Yemen

Project image: 
Eight monolithic pillars (Temenos walls) mark the area of Awwam Temple by Bernard Gagnon (Own work)

Date: April 11, 2016 at 7.00 pm

Location: Embassy of Italy

Archaeologists have always been fascinated by the impressive remains of monumental architecture, sculptures and artefacts of South Arabia’s past. Cities like Marib, Aden and Sanaa have inspired teams to explore the past of Arabia Felix, as it was called in ancient times.

The panel discussion will feature the archaeologist and author Sabina Antonini de Maigret current Director of the Italian archaeological mission in Yemen (Monumenta Orientalia), Michael Harrower  Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Department of Near Eastern Studies at John Hopkins University,  Iris Gerlach, Director of the German Archaeological Institute in Sanaa, and Doctor Alexander Nagel, Research Associate with the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History.

The event will also inaugurate the photographic exhibition “South Arabia Revisited: The Work of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen”, which will highlight stories from the field and collaborative efforts. Archival documents, photographs, notebooks and drawings which will be showcased are the legacies of archaeological fieldwork, documentation and restoration at important archaeological sites like Barāqish and Tamnaʿ.

The Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen was launched in 1980 with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Coordinated by Professor Alessandro de Maigret (1943-2011), the Mission initiated a series of archaeological fieldwork projects with the foremost goal to establish a reliable historical chronology for the past cultures of Southern Arabia.

The initiative will be a tribute to the work of Alessandro de Maigret, a prominent Italian archaeologist who was a pioneer in coordinating the work of the Italian archaeological mission in Yemen since its start in the year 1980.

This event, part of the series "Protecting Our Heritage", is organized by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Embassy of Italy, in collaboration with Monumenta Orientalia and the German Archaeological Institute.