First Saudi Archaeology Convention, Riyadh

The First Saudi Archaeology Convention took place at the National Museum in Riyadh from 7-9 November.

This three-day meeting, organised under the auspices of the King Salman National Cultural Heritage Program, brought together over 100 research presentations on all aspects of Saudi Arabia's history and archaeology by Saudis and international speakers from all over the world, and included high-profile discussion forums, a programme of exhibitions and public events, and considerable media attention

The scientific programme included presentations by Geoff Bailey on DISPERSE research and Robyn Inglis on the results of her SURFACE project

The opening ceremony included the inauguration of the Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari Archaeological Awards for Young Saudi Archaeologists, presented by HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the Governor of Riyadh, and HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH),

The awards are named after Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari, a pioneer of archaeology in Saudi Arabia, and the first Saudi to study archaeology in the UK. He went on to supervise generations of Saudi archaeologists, and led archaeological surveys and explorations in different regions of the Kingdom for more than half a century.

Among the prize-winners were two Saudi students in the York Department of Archaeology, Abdullah Al Zahrani, recognised for his PhD (awarded in 2014) entitled: ‘Mining in al-Baha region, south-western Saudi Arabia in the Islamic Era: the Archaeology of Asham’, and Khalid Al Asmari for his Masters thesis (King Saud University) on the Neolithic site of Al Uuyannah in Tabuk, NW Saudi Arabia, research he is continuing during his PhD at York.

The photograph shows (L to R) Prof. Ahmed Al Zelaay, Dr Abdullah Al Zahrani, Prof. Geoff Bailey and Khalid Al Asmari.