Damascus, SANA- President Bashar al-Assad awarded Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae the Syrian Order of Merit of the excellent degree, in appreciation of his contributions in the field of archaeological excavations in the site of Ebla throughout 59 years of archaeological and research work.
Vice President Najah al-Attar awarded Matthiae the Syrian Order of Merit in a ceremony held Monday at the National Museum in Damascus, in the presence of the Minister of Culture, Lubana Mshaweh.
Matthiae devoted much of his life to work on Syrian antiquities, and played an important role in introducing Syrian archeology and identity to European peoples.
The awarding of the Syrian Order of Merit took place during the second day of the International Conference on the latest results of archaeological research in Syria, organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Department of Antiquities and Museums, and the Ministry of Tourism, in which Syrian researchers and archaeologists from Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Germany participated.
“We in Syria believe that the noblest trait of a person is his attitude towards others, and Matthiae did a great scientific job that resonated throughout the world by discovering an ancient civilization similar to the civilization of the Nile Valley and parallel to the civilization of Mesopotamia, whether in antiquity or in achievements,” said al-Attar.
For her part, Mshaweh said that Matthiae spent nearly 40 years of his life excavating at the Ebla archaeological site, and remained the head and director of the Italian archaeological mission at Tell Mardikh from 1963 to 2011. when work on the site was suspended due to the war in Syria. He also founded an archaeological mission at Tell Afes and another at Tell Tuqan.
This professor has always considered Syria as his second homeland, and despite all the obstacles and pressures he returned in 2022, as scientific director of a new Italian mission.
Between 1963 and 2019 he published about 185 scientific articles on Syria, its civilization and its archaeological sites, and 23 books that are among the most important scientific references about the ancient Syrian civilizations, especially about the Ebla archaeological site.
Nisreen Othman/Shaza Qreima