All posts by beech

Head of Archaeology: Al Dhafra & Abu Dhabi, Historic Environment Department, Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi)

Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi participates in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (29 April – 5 May 2024)

Various team members from the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi (NHMAD) are taking part in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair which runs from Monday 29th April to Sunday 5th May 2024 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Here are the details:


Attend an Interactive workshop about the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi (age group 8+) which will take place at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Tuesday 30th April at 09:30 AM.

The workshop includes:
A dialogue about the the planet earth’s evolution (preferably with live models).
Discussion around the question: do dinosaurs exist in the United Arab Emirates? Leading us to the interesting fact about the museum containing the Tyrannosaurus skeleton.

Showcasing a set of flash cards of (rocks, insects, extinct or endangered creatures) the children then try to guess what is in the picture, then they play the game of matching the picture with the right name.

Programme Type
Inspire: Cultural Programme
Venue:
Abu Dhabi International Book Fair – Saadiyaat Cultural District Stand – Hall 8D 90
Date & Time
Tuesday 30 Apr 2024

09:30 AM


Attend a session entitled “A Journey Through the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi” led by Sara Almarzooqi (Assistant Curator, Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi) which will take place at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Tuesday 30th April at 5:00 PM.

Session Details:
This session will introduce attendees to the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi. It will take attendees on a tour through the visitor’s journey of the museum. It will showcase some key specimen that will be on display for the public to view and will highlight the importance of these specimen to the UAE and science overall.

Programme Type
Inspire: Cultural Programme
Venue
Saadiyat Cultural District Stand – Hall 8D 90
Date & Time

Tuesday 30th April 2024
5:00 PM


Attend a lecture entitled  “A Thousand and One Fossils: A Lecture on the History of Abu Dhabi” by Dr Mark Jonathan Beech (Curatorial and Scientific Lead, Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi), which will take place at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Wednesday 1st May at 5:00 PM.

Session Details:
Join Dr. Mark Beech, a distinguished archaeologist, in his lecture “A Thousand and One Fossils” – Dr. Beech will provide insightful perspectives on the scientific significance of each fossil, shedding light on the evolutionary process and environmental changes that shaped life on Earth. Don’t miss out on this immersive experience that will deepen your understanding of the wonders of Earth’s history, led by Dr. Mark Beech, a leading figure in the field of archaeology.

Programme Type
Inspire: Cultural Programme
Venue
Lifestyle Corner – Hall 9
Date & Time
Wednesday 01 MAY 2024

05:00 PM


Attend a lecture entitled “Meteorites as Rosetta stones from space – Meteorites in the UAE” by Dr Ludovic Ferrière (Curator of Geology and Meteorites,  Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi), which will take place at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair on Saturday 4th May at 5:00 PM.

Session Details:

After a general introduction on meteorites and answering basic questions such as what do we learn from them? What drives us to search and to study them? and presenting some anecdotes on some historical meteorite falls and finds, Dr. Ferrière will discuss the meteorites that are known in the UAE. He will conclude his session with a presentation on what is planned in term of meteorites at the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi, not only in the exhibition but also in the backstage in term of research projects on meteorites at the Museum.

Programme Type
Inspire: Cultural Programme
Venue
Saadiyaat Cultural District Stand – Hall 8D 90
Date & Time
Saturday 04 MAY 2024

05:00 PM

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi (3-5 March 2024)

Two of the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi (NHMAD) team spoke at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, to be held from 3-5 March 2024 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.


Monday 4 March 2024
17:35 PM – 18:05 PM
Location: MAS Auditorium
Type: Case Study
Session: Culture and Climate Change
Speakers:
– Bastien Varoutsikos (Director of Strategic Development, ALIPH Foundation)
– Mark Beech (Curatorial & Scientific Lead – Natural History Museum – Abu Dhabi)
– Teresa Patricio (President, ICOMOS)

CULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The vulnerability of culture in the face of climate change has been explored in past editions of the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit. This year, in advance of COP 28, we explore how culture is also a source of resilience and can be a driving force for climate action. In this case study, Bastien Varoutsikos, Director of Strategic Development, ALIPH Foundation is inviting us to delve into the vital connection between preserving cultural heritage to address the challenges posed by climate emergency through the first-hand experiences of global experts. The case study will explore in particular the role of museums, policymaking and the preservation of the built heritage offering a positive spin on this complex relationship between culture and climate change.


Tuesday 5 March 2024
11:50 AM – 12:40 PM
Location: MAS Theatre
Type: Panel
Session: Climate Change: The Catalyst for New Cultural Dialogues?
Speakers:
– Moustafa Bayoumi (Climate Change Research Fellow, Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, Abu Dhabi)
– Professor Phil Manning (Chair of Natural History, University of Manchester)
– Phloeun Prim (Executive Director, Living Arts International)
– Adriana Sandoval Trujillo (Head of Press and Culture, Embassy of Colombia to the United Kingdom)

CLIMATE CHANGE: THE CATALYST FOR NEW CULTURAL DIALOGUES?

In this engaging conversation, Moustafa Bayoumi, Research Fellow, Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) will explore with cultural leaders from across the globe how the global climate crisis has ignited profound discussions across diverse cultures, bridging boundaries, fostering collaboration and, sometimes, unexpected cultural dialogues. The panelists will share their insights on how climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a catalyst for cultural exchange, leading to innovative solutions and a deeper understanding of our interconnected world.


The Culture Summit Abu Dhabi is annual global forum that convenes leaders from the fields of arts, design, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology, to identify ways in which culture can transform societies and communities worldwide.

There will be 90+ sessions and 180+ speakers from 90+ countries.

Click here for details of the programme.


CULTURE SUMMIT 2024: A MATTER OF TIME

In the 2024 edition, Culture Summit will explore our changing relation to time, how this change is impacting the way culture is produced, received and consumed but also the role culture – which so often holds together past, present, future – could play to help us navigate this moment of inflection in the way we relate to the notion of time, moving from a ‘mechanical time’ characteristic of our contemporary era to a ‘new cultural time’ realigned with the rhythm of human awareness and nature.

The agenda will feature keynotes, plenary sessions, panel discussions, artist talks, case study workshops, creative conversations, policy sessions, cultural performances, and a visual art exhibition.

The event’s key global partners include UNESCO, Economist Impact, Design Museum, Google, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and the Recording Academy. Additional Culture Summit Abu Dhabi partners include Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, Arab World Institute, Berklee Abu Dhabi, Club de Madrid, Cultural Foundation, IFACCA, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu DhabiNYUAD and World Cities Culture Forum, and Zayed National Museum.

For more information, visit the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi website: https://www.culturesummitabudhabi.com

Science Talk: Ancient Abu Dhabi at SeaWorld, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (Thursday 22 February 2024)

I will be giving a talk together with Dr Thomas Steuber in the series of Science Talks being held at SeaWorld on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Thursday 22nd February 2024.  The Science Talks are jointly organised  in partnership with the Emirates Natural History Group, Nautica Environmental Associates, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi.

Here are details of the meeting. Members of the public are invited to attend this free event. You can register to attend the talk by clicking here

SCIENCE TALK: ANCIENT ABU DHABI

6:30pm
Welcome note

6:35pm – 7:00pm
Dr. Thomas Steuber

Sea-level and climate change in the Arabian Gulf during the last ice ages: A history derived from rocks, sediments, and fossils of coastal Abu Dhabi.

7:00pm – 7:25pm
Dr. Mark Beech

From Ancient Seas to when Elephants Walked in Abu Dhabi – what fossils tell us about the historic environments of the UAE.

7:25 – 7:45pm
Q&A


SeaWorld filmed the Science Talk: Ancient Abu Dhabi – this featured the following:

– Welcome and Introduction by Dr Elise Marquis (SeaWorld) [0-4:10 mins]

– Dr Thomas Steuber (Khalifa University) [4:10 -29:38 mins]
Sea-level and climate change in the Arabian Gulf during the last ice ages: A history derived from rocks, sediments, and fossils of coastal Abu Dhabi.

– Dr Mark Jonathan Beech (Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi)
[29:38 – 1:05:38 mins]
From Ancient Seas to when Elephants Walked in Abu Dhabi – what fossils tell us about the historic environments of the UAE.

– Question and Answer session [1:06:10 – 1:32:08 mins]


Here are some photos taken during the event:

 

 

Three new papers published (17 December 2023)


I am a co-author on three papers just published in the book:

Advances in UAE Archaeology: Proceedings of Abu Dhabi’s Archaeology Conference 2022.
Edited by: Pascale El Fadi, Maureen Gannon, Kinan Al Shohof and Tareq Al Ghoul.
Zayed National Museum – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Archaeopress. 2023.
ISBN 978-1-80327-673-1 (hardback)
ISBN 978-1-80327-716-5 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-80327-674-8 (e-Pdf)

You can download and read the entire book by clicking here, or you can separately download these specific papers I co-authored:

Noura Al Hameli, Richard Thorburn Cuttler, Mark Jonathan Beech, Peter Magee, Kevin Lidour, Baptiste Pradier, Rémy Crassard, Howell Magnus Roberts and Áurea Izquierdo Zamora. 2023.  Funerary practices within Mortuary Complex F: New insights from recent excavations on Marawah Island. Pages 73-102, in: Pascale El Fadi, Maureen Gannon, Kinan Al Shohof and Tareq Al Ghoul (eds.), Advances in UAE Archaeology: Proceedings of Abu Dhabi’s Archaeology Conference 2022. Zayed National Museum – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Archaeopress.
[ download here =>> ]

Rémy Crassard, Noura Hamad Al Hameli, Mark Jonathan Beech and
Richard Thorburn Howard Cuttler. 2023. Preliminary comparative lithic analyses from the Neolithic sites of Marawah and Ghagha islands (emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE). Pages 103-114, in: Pascale El Fadi, Maureen Gannon, Kinan Al Shohof and Tareq Al Ghoul (eds.), Advances in UAE Archaeology: Proceedings of Abu Dhabi’s Archaeology Conference 2022. Zayed National Museum – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Archaeopress.
[ download here =>> ]

Tariq Yousif Alhammadi, Richard Thorburn Howard Cuttler, Mark Jonathan Beech and Ahmed Abdalla El Faki. 2023. Developing a Historic Environment Record system for the management of heritage resources in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Pages 429-446, in: Pascale El Fadi, Maureen Gannon, Kinan Al Shohof and Tareq Al Ghoul (eds.), Advances in UAE Archaeology: Proceedings of Abu Dhabi’s Archaeology Conference 2022. Zayed National Museum – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Archaeopress.
[ download here =>> ]

New publication for Hashel Lamki “Maqam” exhibition at Abu Dhabi Art (22 November 2023)

 

I recently published the following contribution in the catalogue of the Emirati artist Hashel Al Lamki’s “Maqam” exhibition at this year’s Abu Dhabi Art, held at Manarat Al Saadiyat between 22-26 November 2023.

Beech, M.J. 2023. The Geology of Abu Dhabi Emirate: In every layer, a history untold. Pages 11-18, in: Venetia Porter and Laura Cherrie Beaney (eds.), Maqam – Hashel Al Lamki. Abu Dhabi Art – Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
ISBN: 978-9948-769-02-6 [ download here =>> ]

Abu Dhabi Art presented the Gateway Exhibition: Maqam, curated by the curator Venetia Porter, in collaboration with the artist Hashel Al Lamki. Hashel Al Lamki is one of the leading lights of the UAE. Early to grasp the importance of climate action and environmental consciousness, he was also among the first of his generation to realise the need for artists to work together, to offer peer to peer critique and to create collaborative artist-run spaces.

Growing up in the Al Maqam district of Al Ain, Hashel was influenced by the beauty of its landscape and in particular by the dramatic nearby mountain range of Jebel Hafit. It was here that he first became aware of its ancient geology and the colour of its rocks. In the essay I contributed to the catalogue for this exhibition I give a snapshot of the history of this landscape. starting with the Mesozoic era, 252 to 66 million years ago when Abu Dhabi was submerged beneath the Tethys Sea and when significantly the rocks that now provide the region with its precious resources of oil and gas began to be formed.

New updated publication of Sir Bani Yas Church and Monastery booklet (10 November 2023)

To coincide with the opening of the new Sir Bani Yas Visitor Centre on the 10th November 2023, the Department of Culture published an updated version of the booklet about the Church and Monastery. This booklet was edited by Noura Hamad Al Hameli, Richard Cuttler and Mark Jonathan Beech. Details of the publication are as follows:

Department of Culture and Tourism (Noura Hamad Al Hameli, Richard Cuttler and Mark Jonathan Beech). 2023. The Church and Monastery of Sir Bani Yas. Abu Dhabi Culture.
ISBN: 978-9948-776-67-3. ==>

You can click on the link just above or scan this QR code to view the booklet:

Launch of new Sir Bani Yas Island Visitor Centre (10 November 2023)

The new Sir Bani Yas Island Visitor Centre opens to the public on Friday 10 November 2023. A new exhibition provides a valuable insight into the geology, archaeology and history of Sir Bani Yas Island, highlighting the important contribution made by the late UAE President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The new Visitor Centre is located next to the 7th-8th century CE Church and Monastery discovered on the island in 1992.

The inauguration of the new Sir Bani Yas Visitor Centre was led by His Excellency Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism), His Excellency Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani (Undersecretary, Department of Culture and Tourism), and Rita Aoun-Abdo (Executive Director, Culture Sector, Department of Culture and Tourism), with other VIP dignitaries and guests from Sir Bani Yas Island.

Abu Dhabi Media Office, 14 November 2023
دائرة الثقافة والسياحة – أبوظبي تفتتح مركزاً للزوار في جزيرة صير بني ياس

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi inaugurates Sir Bani Yas Island visitor centre

Sir Bani Yas Island (DCT website)

Sir Bani Yas Island (Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey website)

Sir Bani Yas Island: Explore UAE’s largest natural island (Khaleej Times)

Reopening of Delma Museum (10 November 2023)

The Delma Museum reopened to the public on Friday 10 November 2023. A new exhibition provides a valuable insight into life on Delma Island. The Museum is located within the former pearl merchant’s residence, the Mohammed bin Jasim Al Muraykhi house. This is situated in the historic core of Delma town adjacent to the Al Muraykhi Mosque, Al Dawsari Mosque and Al Muhannadi Mosque.

The reopening of Delma Museum was conducted by our Chairman, H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Undersecretary H.E. Saoud Abdulaziz Al Hosani and Executive Director of the Culture Sector, Rita Aoun-Abdo, alongside H.E. Nasser Mohammed Al Mansouri, Undersecretary of the Ruler’s Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region, H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Mansouri, Director General of Al Dhafra Region Municipality, and H.E. Brigadier Hamdan Saif Al Mansouri, Director of the Al Dhafra Region Police Directorate. They all attended the reopening of the Delma Museum following the completion of this major restoration initiative, plus installation of the new exhibition within the Delma Museum.

Abu Dhabi Media Office, 11 November 2023
دائرة الثقافة والسياحة – أبوظبي تُعيد افتتاح متحف دلما بعد ترميمه

Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi reopens Delma Museum following restoration

Delma Island (DCT website)

Timeframe: The untold stories of Abu Dhabi’s Delma Island (7 April 2023, The National)

Dalma Island (website)

New paper published on UAE dolphin stomach contents (8 Nov 2023)

A new paper has just been published in the journal Marine Mammal Science which I co-authored on the stomach contents of UAE dolphins:

Alkhamis, R., Smale, M. J., Beech, M. J., Brownell, R. L. Jr., Stahi, H., & Natoli, A. (2023). Stomach contents analysis of Tursiops aduncus and Sousa plumbea stranded along the United Arab Emirates coastline. Marine Mammal Science, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.13086

I analysed and identified the fish sagittal otoliths that were present in the stomach contents of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) and Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea). This revealed that fish which were consumed included Carangidae: Carangoides bajad, and Gerreidae: Gerres longirostris, as well as a number of other species.

ZNM Archaeology Conference 2023 (6 Nov 2023)

An Archaeology conference was organised by the Zayed National Museum which was held on Monday 6th November 2023 at the Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Peter Magee, the Director of Zayed National Museum, welcomed a renowned board of researchers, experts, dignitaries, and guests from across the globe, attending the Archaeology Conference 2023 under the theme “2,500 years of Prosperity, Exchange and Openness.” Dr Magee emphasises on the significance of the topics and findings presented this year towards defining our collective role in the exploration, preservation, and exhibition of the heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Decades worth of research, theories, knowledge and perspectives will be presented and showcased throughout the day by esteemed experts in the field, allowing attendees to be a part of the collaborative efforts to preserve and share our history.

About the Conference

The Archaeology Conference is an annual forum hosted by Zayed National Museum as one of the definitive platforms for research, discussion and recognition of achievements in the field of archaeology within the United Arab Emirates. The 2023 edition of the conference will focus on ‘2,500 years of Prosperity, Exchange and Openness’, with a vision to share key findings from recent excavations and disseminate knowledge about ongoing explorations. During this one-day conference, a board of distinguished international experts will congregate to exhibit the UAE’s rich history and national heritage sites to a global audience – featuring engaging presentations that reveal new insights into historical site archives, early-urbanised Islamic settlements and burial customs, traditional Arabian architecture as well as unveiling maritime discoveries and the most recent archaeological exploration and preservation projects in the region. The Archaeology Conference 2023 presents a unique opportunity for professionals and experts in the scientific field to share their research and findings – and ultimately establish influential relationships that will strengthen global ties and collaborations in the field of archaeology.

Speakers at the conference included: H.E. Saood Al Hosani, Abdulla Al Shehhi, Bruno Overlaet, Peter Sheehan, Dr Timothy Power, Dr Derek Kennet, Dr Seth Priestman, Dr Karol Juchniewicz, Dr Agnieszka Lic, Dr Richard Thorburn Howard Cuttler, Dr. Alexandre Monterio, Ammar Albanna, Annissa Gultom, Mariam Al Shehhi, Aaesha Al Dhahoori, Nagmeldeen Morshed Hamza, Dr Peter Magee and Alison Kelly.