The Qatar-Sudan archaeological project, now on its fifth year, has delivered long-lasting and positive impact in preserving World Heritage sites and promoting tourism in Sudan, Qatar Museums (QM) has said.
QM presented the result of the ‘Qatar-Sudan Project for the Development of Nubian Archaeology of Northern and Nile States (QSAP)’ at a recent conference in Khartoum.
The event, organised in co-operation with Qatar Fund for Development and the Qatar embassy in Sudan, aims to highlight the country’s support for Sudan.
“Sudan’s rich cultural heritage deserves attention. In addition to supporting research and preservation, the QSAP was designed with accessibility for the local community and ownership by this population in mind to help engage the people of Sudan in preserving the sites and finding sustainable ways of increasing tourism,” QM’s acting chief archaeology officer Ali al-Kubaisi said in a statement.
“As a country, Qatar has a strong commitment and interest in celebrating and preserving cultural history, heritage and traditions and putting people in touch with their past,” he added. “Our work with the QSAP is the embodiment of that vision.”
QSAP is a joint initiative between QM and the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums of Sudan for the preservation and development of Sudan’s heritage sites, including the World Heritage sites of Meroe and Jebel Barkal.
According to QM, QSAP enabled long-term research and excavation, facilitated access to state-of-the-art technologies, increased accessibility to the sites for the local population and supported the development of skills and expertise amongst academic institutions.
As part of QSAP, QM is currently funding 42 missions from 25 institutions and 13 countries involved in the excavation and conservation of archaeological sites that date from the prehistoric era.
Since its launch in 2012, the State of Qatar, represented by QM, has provided more than $50mn in financial support for the archaeological missions working in Sudan. Such investment, which surpassed the financial backing received by the prominent Unesco-led “Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia,” allowed a step change in the way research, preservation and education are carried out around Sudan’s historical landmarks.
Typical archaeological missions last between five and seven weeks due to funding restrictions, QM noted.
But today, as a result of the funding offered by QSAP, local and international missions are able to work for up to three months, recruiting additional experts and undertaking innovative and cutting-edge technologies, including 3D modelling, photography and sophisticated anthropological survey techniques.
QM added that all these activities are supported by the dissemination of research results, digitisation and cataloguing of archival documents that have not previously been accessible to researchers in Sudan and universities abroad, and the presentation of information to the general public, including university students, to build local capacity in Sudan.
As a next step, a roadmap to jumpstart cultural tourism in Sudan to the two World Heritage sites of Meroe and Jebel Barkal is being developed in accordance with Unesco standards.
An updated touristic infrastructure has already been developed in their proximity, including two tourist camps which will serve to house tourists during their visits in the area, QM added.