International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad”

  • International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” (3rd edition)

    International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” (3rd edition)


    Since 2015, Mediterranean Exchange of Archaeological Tourism and Archeo have decided to pay homage to archaeological discoveries with an annual prize awarded in collaboration with international headlines, traditional media partners of BMTA: Antike Welt (Germany), as. Archäologie der Schweiz (Switzerland), Current Archaeology (United Kingdom), Dossiers d’Archéologie (France).

    The Prize is devoted to Khaled al-Asaad, the archaeologist of the site of Palmyra who paid with his life the defence of cultural heritage.

    The remembrance of the archaeologist Paolo Matthiae:

    “For forty years, Khaled al-Asaad has been the Director of the archaeological excavations of Palmyra. He was the archaeologist of the city, he worked with missions from every country: from France to Germany, from Switzerland to Netherlands, from United States to Poland, and in the last years from Italy too, with the mission from Università Statale of Milan. He was a complete scholar, but mostly he had the peculiar feature of a member of the families of the cities of the desert. These people, like the ancient Bedouins, are lovely, kind and very hospitable, in a completely natural way, not excessive but very measured and discreet fashion. Khaled al-Asaad was a very lovely man, measured and with a kind soul. Even archaeologists who didn’t specialize in that period – Roman antiquity – often came to Palmyra to visit him and Khaled’ s friendliness was total.

    He was a man deeply rooted in the city, and yet, for the international character of the site he oversaw, he was a citizen of the world, too. In various occasions his name was suggested for the position of General Director of Antiquities in Damascus, but I believed he preferred to remain in Palmyra, a city he identified himself with. Khaled was so certain he was just doing his job that he didn’t think he needed to escape. And as I remember him, he wasn’t a man who feared for his own life. Even if in retirement and almost 82, he preferred to stay in his city, precisely because he had understood its antiquities were in ranger. And probably, he imagined his undisputed moral authority could protect what Palmyra held and still hols today: the ruins of an absolutely extraordinary archaeological site, for all the Mediterranean area and for the whole world”.

    The International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” is the only global prize awarded to archaeologists, who with sacrifice, dedication, competence and scientific research live their job, both as scholars of the past and as professionals working for their territory.

    The Award, therefore, aims to spread the exchange of experiences, represented by international discoveris, also as best practices of intercultural dialogue. The Award will be assigned to the first classified archaeological discovery, according to the recommendations received by each headline, which will signal five discoveries in order of preferences, all of them made in the previous year. The sum of the recommendations of each headline will determine the assignment of the award.

    The Director of the Exchange Ugo Picarelli and the Director of Archeo Andreas Steiner shared this common path, aware that “today, civilizations and cultures of the past and their relations with the surrounding environment are more and more important to rediscover the identities, in a global society which is dispersing its values”.

    In 2017, the Award has been assigned to the discovery of a large Bronze Age city in Northern Iraq, next to the small Kurdish village of Bassetki  in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, made by Peter Pfälzner, Archaeologist and Coordinator of the archaeological mission of IANES Institute Ancient Near Eastern Studies University of Tubingen.

    A “Special Award” will also be assigned to the archaeological discovery which will receive more approval from the wide public through the Facebook page of the Mediterranean Exchange of Archaeological Tourism between July 5 and September 29.


    International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” (1st edition)
    International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” (2nd edition)
    International Archaeological Discovery Award “Khaled al-Asaad” (3rd edition)