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Saudi antiquities returned to the Kingdom
Riyadh, 2ed Apr 2001

  Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Secretary General of the Higher Tourism Commission and Chairman of the National Heritage Foundation, graced here on Sunday evening a ceremony to celebrate the return of Saudi antiquities from Harvard University.

On arrival at the venue of the ceremony, Prince Sultan bin Salman was welcomed by the Minister of Education, Dr Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Rashid and a number of senior officials. The ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Education.

Speaking on the occasion, the Education Undersecretary for Antiquities and Museums, Saad Al-Rashid, highlighted the great efforts exerted by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh region, for the establishment of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center.

'Tonight, we celebrate the return of a collection of antiquities to their homeland from Harvard University after a period of more than 30 years,' Al-Rashid said.

Al-Rashid said Thomas Burger, a geologist who had earlier worked in the Kingdom as the first President of the Aramco Company, collected the Saudi antiquities.

Al-Rashid expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Ambassador to Italy and Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, for the return of these pieces to the Kingdom. He expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by Harvard University, the pioneering university in the fields of anthropology and antiquities studies.

Al-Rashid thanked the members of the family of Thomas Burger, who have preserved these pieces and brought them back to the Kingdom. He highlighted the importance of these antiquities in authenticating the history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For his part, the former Head of the Department of Historical Documents at Harvard University, Karny Edward Javin, commended the exhibits, which are displayed at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre. He underscored the importance of antiquities as they enrich the national history and heritage.

Prince Sultan bin Salman said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam, was and still is a concourse for civilizations. He praised the noble gesture of the Burger family in returning the pieces to Saudi Arabia: 'The family has delivered 14 important antique pieces that shed light on important historical eras of the Kingdom,' said Prince Sultan bin Salman.

In a press statement after the ceremony, Prince Sultan bin Salman said the Higher Tourism Commission would try to bring back the remaining Saudi antiquities which are still in the hands of the former employees of Aramco. He lauded the efforts exerted by Harvard University in this area.

The ceremony was attended by Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Ambassador to Italy, a number of accredited ambassadors to the Kingdom and senior officials.

Source: SPA

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04 April 2001 03:34:31 PM

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