Check back for additional profiles of more than 80 esteemed speakers and panelists participating at the AlUla World Archaeology Summit.
Ms. Manal AlDowayan
Born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1973, Manal Al Dowayan’s artistic practice revolves around themes of invisibility, active forgetting, archives, and collective memory, with a large focus on the status of women and their representation. In the past 20 years she has been awarded several commissions that produced engaging work that simultaneously question the status of society while telling its stories. Manal has been recognized for her work in sound, neon, and sculpture, and she is well known for the participatory installations Suspended Together (2011) and Esmi-My Name (2012). Both resulted from workshops offering channels for thousands of women to address unjust social customs. Manal's practice also includes land art projects like Now You See Me Now You Don't (2020), permanently installed at the UNESCO heritage site of AlUla, and her art collaborations with Christian Dior and FIFA World Cup™.
Manal holds a master's degree in Contemporary Art Practice in Public Spheres from the Royal College of Art, London, and her works can be found in the collections of the British Museum, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim, New York; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.
Prof. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohamed Ameen
Professor, Department of Islamic Archaeology
Ahmed Ameen earned his bachelor's degree in Islamic archaeology from Cairo University's Fayoum branch and a doctorate in Byzantine and post-Byzantine archaeology from the University of Athens, Greece. With over 20 years of academic experience, he has authored six books and published 40+ papers on Islamic art, epigraphy, architecture, and heritage. In 2020, he was promoted to full professor. Ahmed actively participates in conferences on the Islamic heritage of Egypt, Syria, Libya, and the Balkans, held in Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, and Morocco.
His expertise encompasses excavation work in Egypt, Libya, and Greece. Ahmed serves as the editor-in-chief of the journals Shedet and JAT-MUST, and is a member of the Scientific Publishing Committee of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Elsevier Advisory Panel. He has received awards for international publishing, scientific translation, authorship, and teaching excellence.
Formerly, Ahmed led the Islamic Archaeology Department at Al-Mergab University in Libya and MUST University in Egypt. Currently, he serves as the acting head of the Department of Arab-Peninsula Archaeology and Vice-Dean for Education and Student Affairs at MUST University. Ahmed Ameen's unwavering dedication to preserving and understanding Islamic heritage through extensive research has established him as a prominent scholar in Islamic archaeology.
Dr. Abdullah M Alsharekh
King Saud University
An award-winning Associate Professor at the Department of Archaeology, King Saud University (KSU). I got my MPhil and Ph.D from the University of Cambridge, UK in prehistoric archaeology. I held the role of Deputy Dean for Quality & Development and thereafter Dean of the College of Tourism and Archaeology, KSU. I specilize in Prehistoric archaeology and co-led a number of archaeological research projects in Saudi, with distinguished colleagues from variouscountries. I have provided wide ranging consultations to many government, educational and private institutions on cultural and educational matters.
Dr. Zaki Aslan
Director & Regional Representative
Zaki Aslan is a conservation architect who managed ICCROM’s cultural heritage programs in the Arab region. He is founding director of ICCROM’s Sharjah Office. Throughout a 20-year tenure, Aslan provided technical advice to ICCROM’s Member States, particularly in the Mediterranean and Gulf countries, on conservation, World Heritage, national policies, as well as higher education and advocacy. He worked with various partners including UNESCO, EU, GCI, British Council, and Interpol on heritage conservation projects. He holds a Ph.D. degree in archaeological conservation from University College London (UCL) and an M.Sc. degree in built heritage conservation from the University of Montreal, Canada. He also studied at the Bavarian Conservation Office, Germany, in 1994. Prior to joining ICCROM, he was engaged in conservation projects and research work in Jordan, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
He published widely and is co-author of the UNESCO-ICCROM teacher's guide for young people on heritage protection as well as editor of ICCROM-ATHAR publications series. Aslan also served as Honorary Senior Lecturer at UCL, Adjunct Professor at the American University of Sharjah, and Visiting Academic at the University of Sharjah, where he led the creation of a joint master’s degree program in Heritage Conservation Management. He initiated the ICCROM-Sharjah Awards Program, the Arab Forum for Cultural Heritage, and the “Medina Initiative” on urban conservation. He is member of the editorial board of the Journal of Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, and member of several advisory and steering committees, including ASOR, EAMENA, the UAE-funded Mosul Project, for the Saudi government, and others).
Dr. Anne Austin
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology, Department of History
University of Missouri–St. Louis
Dr. Anne Austin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL). She received her B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard University and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in the Archaeology program at UCLA. She joined UMSL in 2017 after completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the History Department at Stanford University. Her research combines the fields of osteology and Egyptology in order to document medicine and disease in the past. Specifically, she uses data from ancient Egyptian human remains and daily life texts to reconstruct ancient Egyptian health networks and identify how ancient Egyptians maintained their health and responded to illness. While working in Egypt, Anne discovered the mummified remains of a woman with 30 different tattoos. Since then, she and her team have identified several other tattoos in the mummified remains from Deir el-Medina. Anne's next research project focuses on the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt and its potential connections to gender, religion, and medicine.
Dr. Robert Bewley
Honorary Chair of the Board
Council for British Research in the Levant
Dr. Robert Bewley is an independent researcher, Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology, and member of St. Cross College, Oxford. From 2015-2020 he directed the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project (EAMENA) of Oxford University (funded by Arcadia and the Cultural Protection Fund). He studied archaeology at Manchester (B.A.) and then University of Cambridge (M.Phil. and Ph.D.). He is Director of the Aerial Archaeology in Jordan Project from 1998 as well as Director of the Aerial Archaeology in Oman project. Dr. Bewley is the Chair of the Council for British Research in the Levant, CBRL (2020-), Vice-Chair and Trustee for the Mary Rose Museum Trust (2015-), and Council member for the Society of Antiquaries, London (2022-). He has written or edited six books: Ancient Jordan from the Air (with D. Kennedy, 2004); CBRL: Prehistoric Settlements (2003); Aerial Archaeology – Developing Future Practice (joint editor with Włodek Raçzkowksi, 2002); Lincolnshire’s Archaeology from the Air (editor, 1999); World Prehistory: Studies in Memory of Grahame Clark (joint editor with J.M. Coles and P.A. Mellars, 1999); and Prehistoric and Romano-British Settlement in the Solway Plain, Cumbria (1994).
Dr. Ross Burns
Adjunct Professor, Ancient History
Ross Burns studied History and Archaeology for his first degree at the University of Sydney (1962-65). On graduation he entered the Australian diplomatic service and undertook an unstructured assortment of eventful postings including Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Egypt. Further Middle Eastern appointments included serving as Ambassador in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. Between Mid-East assignments he served as Ambassador to UNESCO, in South Africa (1992-95), and in Greece. On retirement in 2003, he filled in time completing a Ph.D. at Macquarie University on the colonnaded streets of the cities of the Roman Eastern Provinces, giving talks in Australia and abroad, and participating as lecturer for archaeological tours in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. For over 30 years, his interests as an author, initiated by Monuments of Syria (1992), were complemented by histories of Aleppo and Damascus and the publication of a study based on his Ph.D. He is currently finalizing a study Understanding Syria in 40 Monuments, a Story of Survival (for I. B. Tauris) and is co-authoring a two-volume project initiated by the late Judith McKenzie at Oxford University on the transformation of sacred space from pagan through Byzantine to Islamic times in the Levant.
Prof. Shadreck Chirikure
Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science, School of Archaeology
Shadreck Chirikure graduated with an M.A. in Artefact Studies (2002) and a Ph.D. in Archaeology (2005) from University College London. His research work, past, present and prospective is focused on six main areas: 1) reconstruction of ancient technologies (e.g. metallurgy, ceramics, etc.); 2) artefacts, technology and innovation; 3) integration of social science theories with scientific techniques to enhance effectiveness of scientific methods; 4) history of technology; 5) application of scientific techniques to conserve artefacts and sites; and 6) public engagement through heritage science including exhibitions. In the process, Chirikure uses the results of discoveries in the field and the laboratory to develop new understanding, conserve heritage, and tackle global challenges. Chirikure co-Chairs the STEM Working Group convened by the UN Under-Secretary General and Special Adviser on Africa to mobilise science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to address problems with hunger, food security, inequality, and other grand challenges. Shadreck Chirikure is involved with start-ups and entrepreneurship in the natural and cultural heritage space.
He is a recipient of several prestigious awards, a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Chirikure is the author of Metals in Past Societies (Springer, 2015) and Great Zimbabwe: Reclaiming a Confiscated Past (Routledge, 2020). His other books include Managing Africa’s Heritage: Who Cares (Routledge). He is Editor in Chief of the journal Archaeometry, Editor in Chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of African Archaeology, Senior Editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Anthropology, and co-editor of the Cambridge History of Technology.
Prof. Felipe Criado-Boado
The Institute of Heritage Sciences, Santiago
Prof. Felipe is an archaeologist, a Professor of Research at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and a Director of the Institute of Heritage Sciences of CSIC in Santiago. He is also a Principal Investigator and coordinator of the ERC Synergy Grant "XSCAPE: Material Minds" funded by the ERC call (2021-27).
He was elected president of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) from 2015 to 2021, Manager of the Science and Society Area of CYTED from 2009 to 2014, Coordinator of the Humanities and Social Sciences Area of CSIC from 2003 to 2008. He was also a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge during 1986.
His research focuses on Landscape Archaeology, Cognition and Materiality, Cultural Heritage, Archaeology and Society, and Public Science in Cultural Heritage. He has carried out research projects and fieldwork in Galicia, Spain, Portugal, UK, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. All this work led to 197 publications (17 books, 126 papers and 57 book chapters), and 250 oral presentations at conferences. Altogether receiving 7156 citations (H-index of 41); making him the highest cited Spanish archaeologist.
His international reputation was acknowledged by incorporating his bio into the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. He has supervised 22 doctoral theses, 24 bachelor's theses and 31 master's theses. He has also acted as a supervisor for over 20 postdocs established at the CSIC, Spanish universities, and universities in Spain.
Ms. Liz Fraccaro
Liz Fraccaro is a trained archaeologist and attorney. Ms. Fraccaro is dedicated to preserving and protecting cultural heritage worldwide and contributes expertise in the legal dimensions of cultural heritage management and international human rights. Ms. Fraccaro worked with the Art Law Centre at the University of Geneva, the general counsel at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the general counsel of the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Chicago History Museum.
Ms. Fraccaro graduated in 2012 from Indiana University with bachelor degrees in Anthropology and English Literature. She earned an M.A. in Mediterranean Archaeology from University College London in 2014, and has participated in archaeological excavations in Ostia Antica and Poggio Colla in Italy. She earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law, with a certificate in Art, Museum, and Cultural Heritage Law. At the Antiquities Coalition she serves as Legal Consultant. She also directed the Antiquities Coalition’s Financial Crimes Task Force, uniting a diverse group of experts and leaders from the art, legal, and banking sectors to develop concrete recommendations for combating money laundering, forgery, fraud, and terrorist financing via art and antiquities.
Dr. Alfredo González-Ruibal
Researcher, Institute of Heritage Sciences
Spanish National Research Council
Alfredo González-Ruibal is a senior researcher with the Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (Incipit-CSIC). He has a Ph.D. in prehistoric archaeology, but his research has mostly focused on the archaeology of the contemporary past and the archaeology of the last two millennia in Africa. His investigations on contemporary archaeology explore conflict, colonialism, dictatorship, and negative heritage. In Africa, his interests are in nomadic and stateless societies, social resistance, and the relationship of the Horn with the Indian Ocean (including the Arabian Peninsula). Apart from Spain, he has conducted fieldwork in Ethiopia, Somaliland, Djibouti, and Equatorial Guinea. He is the author of many peer-reviewed articles, as well as several books including An Archaeology of Resistance: Time and Materiality in an African Borderland (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), which received the best book award of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists for 2013-2014, and An Archaeology of the Contemporary Era (Routledge, 2019). He is coeditor of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology and World Archaeology, and sits in the editorial board of different journals of archaeology.
Prof. Alejandro Haber
The National University at Catamarca
Alejandro Haber is a Titular Professor at the National University of Catamarca and a Principal Researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research in Argentina.
He has authored several significant books, including: "Dioses, objetos y mercancías en la arqueología indisciplinada" (ECU-UNCa, Catamarca, 2022), "Arqueología y decolonialidad" (co-authored with Nick Shepherd and Cristóbal Gnecco, del Signo, Buenos Aires, 2016), "Al otro lado del vestigio. Políticas del conocimiento y arqueología indisciplinada" (JAS, Madrid, 2016), "After ethics. Ancestral Voices and Post-Disciplinary Worlds in Archaeology" (co-authored with Nick Shepherd, Springer, New York, 2015), "La casa, las cosas, los dioses. Arquitectura doméstica, paisaje campesino y teoría local" (Encuentro, Córdoba, 2011). In addition to his books, he has contributed numerous papers to specialized journals and book chapters on various topics.
Prof. Maria Hajnalova
Associate Professor of Environmental Archaeology
The Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia
Maria Hajnalova is a Slovakian environmental archaeologist and archaeobotanist who uses botanical data to answer archaeological questions, especially pertaining to what people ate, what the environment was like, and how humans and environments influenced each other from early prehistory to medieval times.
Her main area of expertise is Central Europe, but projects have also taken her to Kuwait and Jordan. She holds the position of Associate Professor of Environmental Archaeology at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia. Hajnalova earned her Ph.D. from Comenius University in Bratislava in 2000 and received training from Glynis Jones at the University of Sheffield.
Prof. Robert Hoyland
Professor of Late Antique and Early Islamic Middle Eastern History
Institute for the Study of the Ancient World New York University
Dr. Robert Hoyland is currently professor of the late antique and early Islamic history of the Middle East at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. He previously taught Islamic history at St. Andrews University and University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He is the author of numerous articles and books on the culture of the Middle East, including Seeing Islam as Others Saw It (1997), Arabia and the Arabs from the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam (2001) and In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire (2014). He has also conducted archaeological fieldwork in many countries of the region and is currently co-directing an excavation of a monastery and pearling settlement of the early Islamic period in Umm al-Quwain (UAE).
Prof. Bettany Hughes
SandStone Global Productions
Professor Bettany Hughes OBE is an award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her specialty is ancient and mediaeval history and culture. Bettany co-founded with Ruth Sessions FRSA SandStone Global – a TV, film, and audio production company dedicated to making ‘the best work, by the best people, for the best reasons’. The work of SandStone Global is values-driven and internationalist.
Prof. Tracy Ireland
Professor of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra
President, ICOMOS Australia
Tracy Ireland is Professor of Cultural Heritage and Associate Dean Research of the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra and President of ICOMOS Australia. Tracy is known internationally for her research on heritage practice and the relationships between archaeology, conservation, and heritage in the settler colonial world. Her career has included roles at the Powerhouse Museum, the New South Wales Heritage Council, the NSW National Trust and GML Heritage. Since 2009 she has developed the University of Canberra’s undergraduate and postgraduate programs in heritage, conservation, and the cultural industries. Tracy is Editor of Historic Environment, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, and has undertaken fieldwork in Australia, New Zealand, Quebec, the northeastern United States, Portugal, and Cyprus.
Ms. Sara Issa
Cultural and Heritage Manager
Mohammed Bin Salman Reserve
Sara is the Cultural and Heritage Manager of one of the most significant royal reserves in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the "Mohammed Bin Salman Reserve." With more than twelve years of experience in the field, her responsibility is to establish and manage the cultural heritage research systems and studies of the Reserve.
She aims to develop a detailed knowledge base encompassing archaeology, architecture, artifacts, arts, traditions, and the culture of the peoples who have occupied the area within the Reserve over many millennia. Her goal is to ensure that this rich heritage is well-documented, understood, conserved, sensitively showcased, appreciated, and utilized as part of the Vision for the PMBSR.
Ms. Sara also works as a consultant with the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (NGO). In several projects, she has encountered dangers, whether internal or external, that required emergency intervention to preserve their heritage. She has experience as a Collection Management professional and has worked on prestigious projects, including the Grand Egyptian Museum, where she led the survey of 100,000 objects in various storerooms and archaeological sites across the country, including the Tutankhamen Collection.
As for her educational background Ms. Sara holds a master’s degree in Cultural Heritage conservation and site management. She has completed several training courses in managing artifact collections, including a course with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the British Council.
Prof. Derek Kennet
Associate Professor of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology
Professor Derek Kennet is based in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He researches the archaeology of the Gulf and Indian Ocean from prehistoric times to the modern period, but particularly during the Sasanian and Islamic periods. He has conducted fieldwork in many countries in the region, including the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and India. Working with the Palace Museum, Beijing, his current research looks at the development of Indian Ocean trade between China and the Islamic Middle East from the Tang to the early Ming period, and the role of Arabia in that trade.
Prof. Toshiyuki Kono
Professor Emeritus of Private International Law, Graduate School of Law
Toshiyuki Kono (LL.B., LL.M. Kyoto University, Japan) is a scholar of private international law and cultural heritage law. He is currently a professor emeritus at Kyushu University in Japan and an honorary president of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS, an advisory body to UNESCO). He served as a member of the ICOMOS Executive Committee (2011-2014), its Vice-President (2014-2017), and the 8th president of ICOMOS (2017-2020).
Prof. Kono has led various international research projects which include the project on intellectual property and private international law of the International Law Association. Besides legal research, he actively participated in drafting the 2003 UNESCO Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Prof. Kono has given lectures at important institutions such as UNESCO, UNIDROIT, and the Hague Academy of International Law. He holds the titular membership of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He currently serves as a board member of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law. His recent publication includes Post-Trauma and the Recovery Governance of Cultural Heritage (2022, Springer). In 2019, Prof. Kono received the Reimar Lüst Award for International Scholarly and Cultural Exchange jointly from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Fritz Thyssen Foundation (Germany).
Founder and Director
Pietro Laureano is an architect, urban and landscape planner, and UNESCO consultant on arid areas, water management, Islamic civilization, traditional architecture, and ecosystems restoration. With over 35 years of international experience as one of the world's leading experts in heritage, restoration, and urban management, he coordinates and manages projects for UNESCO, EU, and his company IPOGEA (www.ipogea.org) in several countries. He rates among the top experts in water management, traditional technologies, and desert oases. He has coordinated archeological excavations in Italy and Saudi Arabia, as well as designed archeological parks. His visions and realizations have been models all around the world. Among his great successes are the regeneration of the prehistoric city of Matera in South Italy, which was completely abandoned and is now a world example of best practices in urban recovery; the restoration of the canals, drainage, and terraced fields of the site of Lalibela in Ethiopia; and the oasis and visitors center of Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Laureano teaches "Traditional Knowledge and Innovation" at the University of Florence in Italy, and has authored over 150 publications in several languages.
Prof. Romolo Loreto
Associate Professor of Archaeology and Art History of the Ancient Near East
University of Naples L’Orientale
Romolo Loreto is an archaeologist and Associate Professor for the teaching of Archeology and History of Art of the Ancient Near East at the University of Naples L’Orientale, and of Archeology of the Arabian Peninsula for the Inter-University Scuola di Specializzazione Interateneo Beni Archeologici “Tra Oriente e Occidente” (Naples L’Orientale - University of Salerno). From 2002 to 2010 he collaborated in the excavations of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen, in Barāqish and Tamnaʾ. Since 2011 he has been director of the Italian archaeological and restoration missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Dumat al-Jandal, ancient Adummatu) with the patronage of University of Naples L'Orientale, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Education, University and Research, The Barakat Trust, and the Saudi Ministry of Culture. Since 2013 he has been Director of the Archaeological Mission of L’Orientale in the Sultanate of Oman in the Sharqiya North region. Since 2014 he has been co-director of the Underwater Mission in the Red Sea in Ummluj, on behalf of L’Orientale and the Saudi Ministry of Culture. He is the author or co-author of over 120 scientific publications and six monographs on the archaeology and history of the Arabian Peninsula.
Architectural Designer, London
Founder, Heritage not Inherited
Sophia Malik is a British architectural designer and engineer specialising in climate resilience, exploring the adaptive reuse of heritage, and low-carbon design. Currently working at ARUP, she holds an M.Phil. in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Cambridge. Her research thesis, titled Heritage not Inherited, focused on hybrid bamboo and earth architecture in Pakistan and its potential as a catalyst for a new material culture of repair and maintenance. During her time at Cambridge, she conducted fieldwork in Karachi with Barefoot Architect Yasmeen Lari of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan.
Sophia's philosophy entails crafting spaces that seamlessly blend existing structures with nature. Using ancestral techniques, artistic inspiration, and natural elements to construct immersive environments, the results prioritise form and perception, while ensuring minimal environmental impact. This approach unites the past and the present in the pursuit of a sustainable future.
In 2022, Sophia was awarded the prestigious Kenzo Parfums x BambooU scholarship, furthering her research of bamboo architecture in Bali. She also serves as a Visiting Studio Tutor at Central Saint Martins, where she teaches first-year architecture.
Dr. Ahmed Mansour
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina's Writing and Scripts Center
Dr. Mansour is an Egyptologist by education and a researcher in the history of Arabic printing and the history of writing through his work and research. He obtained his Ph.D. from Alexandria University and holds two master's degrees: one from Alexandria University and another from Turin University (Level II Master). He has participated in various archaeological missions, including Luxor (Harwa Tomb 2011-2012), Alexandria (Nelson Island 2011-2012), and served as a visiting member of the Wadi el-Jarf archaeological mission and the Ain El-Sukhna mission at the Red Sea (2011-2013).
In 2005, he published "The Bulaq Press" monograph and was subsequently awarded the Incentive State Award in Social Science in 2008. Additionally, he received an award from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development in 2006 for the best-translated book from French into Arabic, titled "Histoire de l'Écriture de l'Idéogramme au Multimédia."
During 2016-2017, he was invited as a founding member of the International Association of Printing Museums (IAPM) in Cheongju, South Korea. After that, he was officially nominated by Bibliotheca Alexandrina to serve as a founding board member of the International Association of Printing Museums (IAPM) in Cheongju, South Korea.
He also worked as a visiting scholar at the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) in London, where he had the opportunity to visit numerous important museums and archaeological sites. Currently, he is engaged in the preservation and study of the archives of Egyptian pioneers in Egyptology, such as Ahmed Pasha Kamal. Additionally, he is actively focusing on utilizing digital technologies for heritage preservation.
Ms. Cheyney McKnight
Founder & Owner
Not Your Momma's History
Cheyney Mcknight is Manager of Living History at the New York Historical Society. She develops and runs Living History Programs at the museum. Cheyney is also the founder of Not Your Momma’s History, a public history consulting business that aids museums and historical sites in talking about the African experience within 18th and 19th century America. Not Your Momma’s History also runs a YouTube channel with over 240,000 subscribers and 5 million views, which shows the day to day lives of Black people throughout American history.
Cheyney has taken her “Let’s Talk About Slavery” table to over 30 parks, historical sites, and public events across America to provide a safe place for people to learn and talk about the history of slavery. She provides handouts to encourage people to further their education beyond that one interaction.
Cheyney graduated from Simmons University in 2011 with a bachelors in Political Science.
In 2021 Cheyney was chosen to be an African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Fellow for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her project, titled The Ancestor’s Future: An Afrofuturist Journey Through History, was both a piece of performance art and a conversation inspired by Afrofuturism about the future of historic preservation on former sites of enslavement. Cheyney uses clothing designs that meld modern textiles that speak to the Black experience in America with 18th and 19th century silhouettes.
Prof. Allison Mickel
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director of Global Studies
Allison Mickel is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Global Studies of Lehigh University. She is also a core faculty member in Lehigh's Center for Global Islamic Studies. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University in 2016 and her B.A. from The College of William and Mary in 2011. Mickel’s research focuses on how local communities have impacted and been affected by the long history of archaeological work in the Middle East. Her book, Why Those Who Shovel are Silent: A History of Local Archaeological Labor and Knowledge, published in March 2021 by University Press of Colorado, interrogated the ways in which archaeological excavations rely on the expertise locally-hired laborers possess about archaeological remains and methodologies. Why Those Who Shovel are Silent was recognized with ASOR’s G. Ernest Wright Award and Lehigh University's Williamson Award for Social Science Research. Allison Mickel is now completing an NEH-funded ethnographic project centering on two new private companies in Jordan advocating for the recognition of local expertise and fair labor conditions on archaeological excavations.
Dr. Ida Oggiano
Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Ida Oggiano is the Research Director of National Research Council of Italy’s (CNR) Institute of Heritage Sciences (ISPC) and an archaeologist specializing in the Southern Levant and Phoenician and Punic Sardinia during the first millennium B.C. Dr. Oggiano is Editor in Chief of Rivista di Studi Fenici and Professor of Geography and Archaeology of Ancient Near East at the Pontificio Istituto Biblico of Rome. She is Co-Director, with Dr. Wissam Khalil, of the Kharayeb Archaeological Project—a multi-disciplinary research project investigating an area north of the Litani River that is fundamental to our knowledge of the Levant in antiquity. The project combines archaeological, archaeometric, epigraphic, and historical research. It consists of excavation, study, and valorisation of the remains of the Phoenician place of worship known as 'Mathaf' and of the thousands of terracotta figurines found there (since 2015, in collaboration with the CNRS-L for ION Beam analyses); the reconnaissance of the coastal territory of the Kharayeb municipality; the underwater investigations of the coastline connected to it (funded by the Honor Frost Foundation); and excavations of the rural settlement of Jemjim and Tell Qasmie, the tell (a port) at the mouth of the Litani.
Dr. Gaetano Palumbo
Honorary Associate Professor, Institute of Archaeology
University College London
Gaetano Palumbo is a specialist in conservation and site management planning. He has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, and is Honorary Associate Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and Principal Consultant at the UCL Center for Applied Archaeology.
He is also a member of ICOMOS-UK, of the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM), and of the ICOMOS International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (ICIP).
He has consulted for various organizations, including ICCROM, ICOMOS, UNESCO and the World Bank, as well as national heritage institutions in the Middle East on projects concerning the conservation and management planning of archaeological sites, and the nomination of cultural heritage properties to the World Heritage List.
Previously, he was Senior Lecturer and course coordinator on Managing Archaeological Sites at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, Program Director at the World Monuments Fund, and Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute.
Prof. Nadine Panayot
The American University of Beirut's Archaeological Museum
Nadine Panayot holds a Doctorate in Classical Mediterranean Archaeology from Paris 1 La Sorbonne. She serves as the Curator of the American University of Beirut's Archaeological Museum and is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of History and Archaeology.
Following the port of Beirut explosion in 2020, she successfully restored the museum's collection of archaeological glass in collaboration with international teams. This effort aimed to support her Lebanese colleagues, raise awareness of corruption and atrocities, and promote healing.
Previously, Nadine held the position of Director of the University of Balamand's Archaeology and Museology Research Department. She also founded and chaired the Master's Program in Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management. Additionally, she co-founded and curated the Ethnographic Museum at UOB. With involvement in Near East archaeological excavations since 1992, she advocates for a holistic approach to natural and cultural heritage conservation, emphasizing their connection to human dignity and well-being.
She has recently been honored with the prestigious insignia of Knight of Arts and Letters by the French Government in recognition of her significant contributions and unwavering commitment to the arts, heritage conservation, and promotion.
Dr. Anna Paolini
The International Council of Museums, and the Italian Association of Professional Architects
Dr. Anna Paolini previously served as the UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of the Gulf and Yemen and Director of the UNESCO Doha Office for the Countries of the Gulf and Yemen from September 2013 to June 2022. She also held the position of UNESCO Representative and Head of Office in Uzbekistan from 2007 to 2009, and later assumed the same role in Jordan.
She joined UNESCO in 1992 as a specialist in the field of culture at the Regional Office in Amman. In 1997, she transitioned to UNESCO HQ, where she held various positions within the Culture Sector, including responsibility for movable heritage activities and heritage response in conflict situations in the Arab region. Before her UNESCO career, she worked as a research associate at the Institute of Architecture in Venice, engaged in restoration work in Italy, and conducted research in the field of urban rehabilitation in several Arab and African countries.
She holds a master’s degrees in architecture and urban and Regional Planning for Developing Countries, a post-graduate degree in Development Cooperation, as well as a Ph.D. in Urban and Territorial Engineering. Mrs. Paolini is a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Italian Association of Professional Architects. She is also the author of several papers on various cultural heritage topics.
Prof. Emanuele Papi
Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene (SAIA)
Emanuele Papi is Director of the Italian Archaeological School at Athens and Professor of Classical archaeology at the University of Siena (Italy), as well as Visiting Professor at the École normale supérieure, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales of Paris, and the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. At Siena he was Director of the International Ph.D. program in Prehistory and Protohistory, History and Archaeology of the Ancient World and of its Ancient Societies of North Africa, Sahara and Mediterranean Levant Studies Centre. He has excavated in North Africa, Egypt, and Greece, focusing on urban sites (Thamusida, Lixus, Sala, Volubilis and Zilil in Morocco, Hephaestia in Lemnos and Dionysias in the Fayyum). As director of the Italian Archaeological School at Athens he is leading several archaeological projects in Greece, including in Lemnos and Crete. He is member of the Accademia dei Lincei, the Archaeological Society at Athens, the Literary Society Parnassos, and the German Archaeological Institute. His primary research interests are the archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean; societies, cities, economies and imperialisms; ancient Rome and Athens during the Roman period; and the history of antiquities.
Dr. Denise Pozzi-Escot
Pachacamac Site Museum
Denise Pozzi-Escot is the Director of Pachacamac Museum and a Peruvian archaeologist. She completed her B.A. at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in Pre-Columbian Archaeology at Paris l University, Panthéon – Sorbonne.
Dr. Pozzi-Escot is a member of the Peruvian Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-Peru) and of the Society of Americanists - France. She has been professor of South American Archeology at the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru, and the University of Rennes, France; and associate professor and director of the Professional School of Archeology and History of the Universidad Nacional San Cristóbal de Huamanga.
She has directed several research projects and is a member of the French Archaeological Mission in Peru and Argentina. Her publications include articles related to pre-Hispanic cultures as well as on the need to strengthen the relationship of the community with archaeological heritage.
Denise has been a consultant for the Instituto Nacional de Cultura of the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú as well as the Department of Education, Culture and Sport in Peru’s Ministry of Education.
Ms. Sheila Russell
Chief Executive Officer
Sands in Time
As a child staring out through the one remaining window of a building that was plundered during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, Sheila wondered: who lived here, what was their story? Growing up with these ruins to play in set a seed that would grow and flourish many years later.
Fast forward to 2017 and a move to Saudi Arabia: a whole new land to explore, learn about and share through her highly successful Instagram account SaudiTravelNotes. From ancient stone structures, roses, volcanoes and historic houses, to forts, Nabataean tombs, petroglyphs and a Babylonian King, she brings stories to life, creating curiosity in the minds of the audience.
Sheila has documented the excavation of several Bronze Age pendants by PAKEP (formerly AAKSA) for the RCU, along with their aerial research. In addition, she has spent time on site in the desert documenting the Saudi Falcons Club HADAD’s conservation program to monitor the birds.
An accomplished photographer and storyteller, Sheila has developed a distinctive and engaging style. Her work has been featured by CNN Arabic on 6 occasions, with another in the pipeline. She was recently appointed CEO of Sands in Time, which provides authentic storytelling and digital communication for a range of organisations.
Sheila is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is qualified in marketing, horticulture, and garden design. Previous roles in the UK include trading fresh cut flowers internationally, project managing a variety of developments (including renovation of a 17th-century manor house), and change initiatives.
“Imagine you are on my shoulder and I’ll take you on the journey with me”.
Prof. Alessandro Sebastiani
Associate Professor of Roman Archaeology, Department of Classics
University of Buffalo (SUNY)
Alessandro Sebastiani is Associate Professor of Roman Archaeology and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Classics of the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Before joining Buffalo in 2017, he was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor at Charles University in Prague. He also served as Research Associate for the Butrint Foundation.
His main research interests span from the Etruscan to the Medieval periods of central Italy, where he conducts archaeological excavations at Alberese (Temple of Diana Umbronensis, manufacturing district at Spolverino, and at the Umbro flumen positio) and Paganico (the Etruscan and Republican sanctuary and vicus at Podere Cannicci, and the medieval settlement of Castellaraccio di Monteverdi).
Dr. Sebastiani is the author of papers and chapters on the excavations he directs. He is one of the founders of the MediTo – Mediterranean Tuscany series published by Brepols, editing volumes on classical and medieval Tuscany. His most recent monograph, Ancient Rome and the Modern Italian State: Ideological Placemaking, Archaeology, and Architecture, 1870-1945, published by Cambridge University Press, deals with the ideological use of classical architecture and the development of national identities through a distorted manipulation of the past.
Prof. Assaad Seif
Associate Professor of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology
A university professor and UNESCO/ICOMOS heritage expert with 30 years of experience, Dr. Seif held first-line positions at the Lebanese Ministry of Culture ranging from the head of the archaeology and heritage research departments to acting general director, and as an advisor for the Minister of Culture. He serves as Scientific Consultant to the Lebanese CNRS, in addition to his leading role in the creation of the archaeology science laboratory at the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC).
In addition to directing more than 70 urban archaeological excavations, and his extensive expertise in heritage management and conservation, Dr. Seif coordinated many archaeological and scientific research projects including the domains of combatting illicit trafficking in cultural goods, computer applications in archaeology, remote sensing, GIS, photogrammetry, Lidar, geo-archaeology, archaeo-seismology, NDT and geophysical survey, and preventive conservation through the use of new technologies. He has authored many publications. He also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal CMAS since 2010.
As a UNESCO and ICOMOS expert, Dr. Seif is well acquainted with the current situation of cultural heritage management and conservation in the Arab countries in general and Lebanon in particular. Throughout his career, he developed wide experience in strategic planning for cultural heritage, cultural heritage management, cultural project implementation as well as cultural dissemination, community engagement, and awareness-raising. His work has led to important changes and enhancements in the practice of archaeological research and heritage management in Lebanon and other Arab countries.
Dr. Lucy Semaan
Lead Maritime Archaeologist and HFF-Lebanon Manager
Honor Frost Foundation
Lucy Semaan is the lead maritime archaeologist of the Honor Frost Foundation (HFF) in Lebanon and the foundation’s Lebanon team manager. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Department of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut (AUB), where she teaches the Minor in Marine Sciences and Culture (MSCU) program.
Dr. Semaan has been involved in archaeology since the mid-1990s. She obtained her masters in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, UK, in 2008 and her Ph.D. in Arab and Islamic studies with a focus on maritime archaeology from the University of Exeter in 2014. Between 2015 and 2018 she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Museology at the University of Balamand, Lebanon. Since 2019, Dr. Semaan has led the rescue team of maritime archaeologists established by the HFF in Lebanon. She also has assisted the Foundation in its capacity-building initiatives in Lebanon since its inception.
She has been diving since 2001 and holds a SSI XR technical diving qualification. For the past two decades, she has participated in and managed several archaeological projects in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia. Her research interests include maritime cultural landscapes and seascapes; coastal and underwater geomorphology; capacity building; rescue archaeology; archaeology in conflict zones; maritime ethnography; and traditional wooden boatbuilding.
Getty Conservation Institute
Tim Whalen is the John E. and Louise Bryson Director of the Getty Conservation Institute, a division of the Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust.
His professional association with the Getty dates to 1983, when he was appointed assistant director of the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities (now Getty Research Institute) and then associate director of the Getty Building Program, which oversaw the development of the Getty Center campus.
In 1991, became senior program officer in the Getty Grant Program (now Getty Foundation) overseeing art and architectural conservation grant making activities. In December 1998, he was appointed director of the Getty Conservation Institute.
Whalen was a trustee and Board Chair, of the US National Trust for Historic Preservation; he is a member of the international advisory board for the Courtauld Institute of Art's M.A. in Wall Painting Conservation, and a former member of the United States National Commission to UNESCO. He was a Loeb Fellow in Environmental Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. A California native, he holds a B.A. in art history as well as an M.A. in museum studies and art history from the University of Southern California.
Photographer and Founder
Eye on Heritage
Richard Wilding FRGS is a curator, writer, and filmmaker focusing on the documentation of history, heritage, and archaeology. He has worked with the Saudi Ministry of Culture as a consultant on events and exhibitions, and is currently undertaking projects in Saudi Arabia, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Syria.
Richard is a trustee of the Mansoojat Foundation, a charity formed by a group of Saudi women to preserve the Kingdom’s traditional clothing. Since 2010 Richard has travelled extensively through Saudi Arabia, researching and photographing clothing, crafts, and heritage. He edited the book Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia, published in 2021.
Since 2012, Richard has been Creative Director of Gulan, a charity which promotes Kurdish culture. He has photographed the archaeology and heritage of Iraqi Kurdistan and northern Iraq as well as the legacy of recent cultural destruction in the region.
In 2019, Richard co-founded Eye on Heritage as a platform for local filmmakers in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan to present their heritage and culture to an international audience. Eye on Heritage has established two production studios in Urfa, Turkey, and Raqqa, Syria, for the filming, editing and distribution of videos documenting the region’s intangible cultural heritage.
Chief Executive Officer
Dennis Wuthrich is the CEO of Farallon Geographics (www.fargeo.com), a geospatial web and mobile solution development company in San Francisco. Dennis has been building decision support systems with geo-technology since 1992 and remains active in designing the technical components of Farallon’s applications.
In addition to his responsibilities as a CEO, he has played an instrumental role as technical team leader for Arches, an open-source enterprise-scale information platform to manage cultural heritage assets and other resources in response to a rapidly changing world.