Dr Abdulameer al-Hamdani

Dr Abdulameer al-Hamdani


The Trustees of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr Abdulameer al-Hamdani on Friday April 29th in Nasiriyah, Iraq, after a long struggle with illness. He was devoted to the preservation of Iraq’s cultural heritage and his passing is a significant loss to the cause of Iraqi archaeology.

Abdulameer al-Hamdani was born in 1967 in Nasiriya and the experiences of his childhood in the famous marshes of southern Iraq would inspire and shape his academic interests in the civilization of Sumer. It led him to study archaeology at Baghdad University.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq, he was appointed to lead the antiquities directorate of Dhiqar province. Between 2003 and 2009, in what can only be described as a challenging role, he was tireless in confronting the problems of looting and the protection of archaeological sites.

Following a major archaeological survey of a large area of central Iraq and co-directing an expedition at Tell Sakhariyah, close to Ur, he completed a MA (awarded 2013) and PhD (awarded 2015) on the archaeology of Iraq’s marshes at Stony Brook University, USA, under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Stone.

In 2018 Dr al-Hamdani was appointed as Minister of Culture, a post he held until 2020.

In one of his last public interviews*, he responded to a question about his motivation for becoming a champion of Iraqi cultural heritage with these words: ‘This is my civilization, my heritage, my culture. Our history is what makes us human in the first place. It’s the motivation of humankind. We care about what you inherited not just from our own nation but also from other civilizations.’

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and we send our sincere condolences to his family.

Abdulameer al-Hamdani (right) with John Curtis (left) at Ur in 2008

* https://bowdoinorient.com/2021/04/17/dr-abdulameer-al-hamdani-discusses-preserving-the-past-and-protecting-the-future-of-iraqi-culture/