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Following on from TimeLine Auctions February 2021 auction announcement text:
“Please, let me stay here among her ruins, there have always been drops of my blood and perspiration scattered on her golden stones. I will never give up her. I was born, I lived, and I will die standing here, just like her pillars and palm trees”
The February 2021 catalogue is dedicated to the memory of Dr Khaled al-Asaad, a man of value, honour and integrity, who loved the past and archaeology, and gave his life to it. Among the sands and splendours of Palmyra, his name echoes for eternity.
Dr Khaled Mouhammad Alasaad was born in the city of Palmyra, the epicentre of his life, on 11.12.1933. Growing up in a rural setting surrounded by the oasis of ancient monuments, he understood deeply the value of belonging that has played such a great role in the history of humanity. His deep affection for his birthplace led him to believe in the importance of the preservation of these roots and historical identity of his people.
Within a year of graduating from Damascus University, Faculty of Letters, History branch, in 1961 he was appointed the director of antiquities studies and excavations department, evidence of his exceptional knowledge of archaeological artifacts and Syrian antiquities. In 1963, he fulfilled his life dream and became the director of the Palmyra museum and ruins. For more than 50 years, he worked diligently to place Palmyra at the centre of Syrian cultural heritage and participated himself in all the excavations and restorations across the city. During this time, he also published his research on the city's history in multiple articles and books, including essays in Syrian and international antiquities journals. His research on the city of Palmyra led him to international archaeological conferences across the world including the UK, Bahrain and in the cities of Tehran, Warsaw, Damascus and Palmyra itself. He also worked in cooperation with the German Archaeological Institute on projects and discussions related to the history and archaeology of Palmyra. He helped organise many exhibitions on Palmyra, the first of which took place at the Petit Palais in Paris in 1974.
Dr Khaled al-Asaad never really retired but remained active in his commitment to the city to which he had devoted his life. In August 2015, following the tragic events which brought the war to Syria, he was killed by the terrorists of Isis. He defended the city, its unique heritage and his eternal passion until his final breath. Dr Khaled al-Asaad was highly respected by his colleagues, who recognised in him a deep generosity, and was often addressed as "Mister Palmyra". He was a truly great man, whose ceaseless courage and dedication to the principles for which he died earned him respect and pride amongst archaeologists across the world.
Dr Raffaele D’Amato
at TimeLine Auctions