4 March 2024 – I gave a talk at the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit 2024 in a session called “Culture and Climate Change” held in the Manarat Al Saadiyat Auditorium from 17:35-18:05PM. The session was moderated by Bastien Varoutsikos (Director of Strategic Development, ALIPH Foundation) and also featured Teresa Patricio (President, ICOMOS).

22 February 2024 – I gave a talk on Ancient Abu Dhabi at the SeaWorld Science Talks at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. This was entitled:  From Ancient Seas to when Elephants Walked in Abu Dhabi – what fossils tell us about the historic environments of the UAE.

1 December 2023 – Enjoying a cold week in Paris where I gave a seminar and took part in a PhD examination committee at the Sorbonne University, and visited the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Musée de l’Homme and Institut du Monde Arabe.

10 November 2023 – Attending the opening of the Sir Bani Yas Visitor Centre at the Church-Monastery site on Sir Bani Yas Island.

14 September 2023 – Attending the World Archaeology Summit, held at the Maraya Concert Hall, the World’s Largest Mirrored Building,  at AlUla in Saudi Arabia. More info here.

10 September 2023 – Celebrating my 60th Birthday in Abu Dhabi

1 September 2023 – visiting “Horridus”, the Triceratops horridus skeleton at the Melbourne Museum in Australia. More info here.

2 February 2023 – Checking out a dinosaur bone at the Field Museum, Chicago, USA. More info here.

14 November 2022 – His Excellency Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, together with Dr Mark Jonathan Beech at the Fifth Anniversary Gala Dinner at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

25 August 2022 – Attending the ICOM 2022 Congress in Prague, Czech Republic as a member of the delegation from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

23 March 2022 – Link to interview on Twitter about the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi (NHMAD)

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Source:  DCT. 2019. Archaeological Discoveries: Marawah Island (page 120), Ghagha Island (page 121) and Hudayriat Island (page 122). In: 2019 Annual Report – Volume 1 – Culture.  Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi). ==>

On the afternoon of Monday 17th June 2019 we had the honour of a visit to the Sir Bani Yas Church and Monastery from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Rulers’s Representative in Al Dhafra, and his two sons, HH Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Yas bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They were accompanied by Sultan Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Undersecretary of the Ruler’s Court in Al Dhafra, Ahmed Matar Al Dhaheri, Director of the Ruler’s Representative Office in Dhafrah Region and HE Mohammed Ali Al Shadi Al Mansouri, Director General of the Al Dhafra Municipality.  This visit was following the completion of conservation and enhancement work carried out at the site by the Department of Culture and Tourism.

Participated in the conference, Archaeozoology of Southwest Asia and Adjacent Areas (ASWA) – Barcelona, Spain – 3-7 June 2019.


On 15 December 2018 H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates, declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, posted on his Instagram account a photograph of myself showing to the Christian Bishops of the Gulf some of the pieces of decorated plaster stucco discovered at the Church and Monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island. This photograph was taken during the visit made by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the former UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, and the Christian Bishops of the Gulf to Sir Bani Yas on 17 January 2017.

Third International Conference on the Archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula (The Neolithic in Arabia) – 20-22 November 2018, held at Kuwait National Library, Kuwait City, Kuwait.

On Wednesday 28th February 2018 we had a visit to the Marawah MR11 excavations from a team from the Zayed National Museum (Noura Al Moubarak and Emma Thompson) accompanied by Peter Magee (Head of Archaeology at the Historic Environment Department at the Department of Culture and Tourism).

Here is a nice selfy of the MR11 archaeological team plus visitors. In a clockwise direction from the giant selfy stick holder: Howell Magnus RobertsAlan SartoriRichard CuttlerKirk Roberts, Samander Khan, Zahir Khan, Abdulla Jalil Muhammad, John Martin, Mark Jonathan Beech, Rashid Ali, Peter Spencer, Peter Magee, Emma Thompson, and Noura Al Mubarak.


Official opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi – 8 November 2017. From left to right: His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces), Manuel Rabate (Director, Louvre Abu Dhabi), Emmanuel Macron (President of France), Jean-Luc Martinez (President of the Louvre Paris), HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism), & Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron (Photo credit: WAM Emirates Press Agency).

Macron points to the Marawah Ubaid vase as our Chairman, HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism) explains about our recent excavations on Marawah Island.

Top officials of Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi inspect progress of archaeological excavations on Marawah Island – 25 October 2017 (Photo credit: WAM Emirates Press Agency). From left to right: HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Dr Mark Jonathan Beech, HE Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Rita Aoun-Abdo, Professor Peter Magee, Dr Richard Cuttler, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, Unknown, Dr Olivier Brunet and Abdulla Ghanam bin Kadas Al Rumaithi.

Opening of the Memories of a Journey Hajj Exhibition at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Dr Mark Beech stands in front of the showcase which exhibits nine pieces of decorated plaster stucco from the Sir Bani Yas Church – 20 September 2017 (Photo credit: Dr Richard Cuttler)

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, and the Christian Bishops of the Gulf come to visit the Sir Bani Yas Church and Monastery on 17 January 2017 (Photo credit: WAM Emirates News Agency)


I make a new friend at the Al Ain Camel Market (Photo credit: Sonia O’Connor)


His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, gives Pope Francis a photo book of archaeological findings on Sir Bani Yas Island. I helped to prepare this special book about Sir Bani Yas and the Church of the East. It featured details of our excavations of the church and monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island, as well as showing some of the plaster stucco decoration with crosses found at the church (15 September 2016, Photo credit: WAM).

13339567_10154227660331306_1009784921437856770_nAt the end of the Multaqa lecture at Manarat Al Saadiyat (1 June 2016). From left to right: Abdul Rahman Al Nuaimi, Omar Al Kaabi, Dr Khalid Al Bloshi, Dr Mark Beech, Rita Aoun-Abdo (Executive Director – Culture Sector), Amal Daiban, Salama Al Shamsi (Project Curator – Zayed National Museum), His Excellency Saif Saeed bin Ghobash (Director-General of TCA Abu Dhabi), and others.


Dr Mark Beech (standing) and Dr Khalid Al Bloshi (sitting) present an overview of the geological history of Abu Dhabi at the Multaqa series of talks for the Zayed National Museum, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (1 June 2016 – Photograph by Dr Sarina Wakefield)


Dr Mark Beech carefully installs the 6-8 million-year-old Late Miocene crocodile skull from Gerain Al Aysh into the showcase at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (Photograph by Alison Kelly, ZNM)

Dr Mark Beech explains the ongoing work at the Sir Bani Yas Island church and monastery to Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi (UAE State Minister for Tolerance), Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority), Dr Joseph Elders and Peter Hellyer (16 April 2016 –  Courtesy: Ministry of State for Tolerance)

Dr Mark Beech gives training to NYUAD students in the use of Leica GS14 differential GPS surveying equipment at the Neolithic Ubaid-related settlement on Dalma Island – April 2016. This was part of a fieldwork trip to investigate the heritage of Dalma Island, planned by Dhakira – the Center for Heritage Studies in the UAE, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), together with the Historic Environment Department from the then Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) (Source: Professor Robert ParthesiusDhakira Center for Heritage Studies in the UAE, NYUAD)


The Late Stone Age settlement of MR11 on Marawah Island
(11 February 2016)

Sir Bani Yas church

Sir Bani Yas church and monastery (10 September 2014)


View of Stanage Edge in the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire … Dry stone walls, sheep, and purple heather (10 August 2014)

Discovering new Late Miocene elephant bones at Umm Al-Ishtan, Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi emirate, UAE, with Hamed Majid Al-Mansouri, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi (front left to right) and Ahmed Abdulla ElHaj (back right) (2014)


Sitting in Faisal Al Nuaimi’s tent in northern Qatar with his falcon (2011)

Outside the Giant Panda enclosure at Beijing Zoo (May 2009)


Meeting-SheikhNahyan-lowresReceiving the Sheikh Mubarak Bin Mohammed Natural History Prize for 2008 from H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. This is an award given by the Emirates Natural History Group in recognition of services to archaeology of the UAE (2009)

I enter the Grand Tomb at the Hili Archaeological Park, whilst a french archaeologist looks on… (2007)

timeoutpicPhotograph taken by Time Out Abu Dhabi magazine for a feature article on my work on palaeontology and archaeology in the UAE (May 2003)

Univ-of-York-Mag-lowres-19980918Meeting HRH Prince Charles at Highgrove for the launch of the Regeneration Through Heritage website (18 September 1998)

mark-on-camel-lowresRiding on a camel in the Pabbi Hills, Punjab province, Pakistan (1989)

Mark-Beech-Nikiup-Bulgaria-1988Playing guitar in Nikiup, Bulgaria (1988)