Khaled el Assad (1934-2015)

With deep sorrow we have learned of the brutal execution on 18 August 2015 of Khaled el-Assad, longtime director of antiquities in Palmyra and colleague and friend of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology UW. He was killed by DAESH militants.

For forty years, from 1963 to 2003, Khaled el Assad directed the Museum in Palmyra and he devoted his entire life to the exploration and protection of the ancient heritage of this city. He was an expert on its antiquities and a great enthusiasts of its splendid past. His contribution as an author and co-author of publications on the history and archaeology of Palmyra, cannot be underestimated.

Untiring in his efforts to save and restore Palmyra, Khaled Assad also promoted archaeological excavations and conservation work. His vision and energy helped to complete the reconstruction of such memorable sites as the theater of Palmyra, the fortifications and many sections of the Great Colonnade, a landmark of the Desert City. He was ever ready to share his knowledge and skills with an international group of scholars studying Palmyra and its environs in the past half a century. Numerous international expeditions from research centers in the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Norway and Japan were able to conclude their work thanks to his support and cooperation.

Polish archaeologists, from the Centre as well as from other institutions, owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Since the beginning of Polish work in Palmyra in the 1960s, Khaled el Assad was always there to consult and assist. We have lost not only an academic colleague, but foremost a close and dedicated friend of a few generations of Polish researchers.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Khaled el Assad’s family.

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