Posted on August 29, 2017

During a recent conference in Khartoum organised in cooperation with Qatar Fund for Development and the Embassy of Qatar in Sudan to highlight Qatar’s support for the country, Qatar Museums (QM) presented the results of the Qatar-Sudan Project for the Development of Nubian Archaeology of Northern and Nile States (QSAP).

The 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. The project is also supported by the Qatar Fund for Development. Now in its fifth year, the QSAP has delivered long-lasting, positive impact by enabling long-term research and excavation, facilitating access to state-of-the-art technologies, increasing accessibility to the sites for the local population and supporting the development of skills and expertise amongst academic institutions.

Funding 42 international missions

As part of the 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.

Ali Al Kubaisi, Acting Chief Archaeology Officer at Qatar Museums, said: “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. 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. Our work with the QSAP is the embodiment of that vision.”

Qatar Museums shares latest 2 [].jpgUnprecedented support

Since its launch in 2012, the State of Qatar, represented by QM, has provided more than $50 million in financial support for the archaeological missions working in Sudan. This unprecedented investment, which has surpassed the financial backing received by the prominent UNESCO-led “Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia,” has 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. Today, as a result of the funding offered by the 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.

Establishing cultural tourism infrastructure

All these activities are supported by the dissemination of research results, the 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.