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Salvaged history

Restoration of historical documents aims to preserve the heritage of the UAE and region.

The UAE's history, as well as the region's in general, continues to be enriched thanks to new discoveries of old treasures.

As The National reported yesterday, Bassam Daghestani, the head of the preservation, treatment and restoration clinic of the Juma al Majid Center for Culture and Heritage in Dubai, has made it his life's work to provide "treatment" to old and rare documents from the region and beyond.

"We are the hospital for sick paper," said the Syrian expert, 51, who holds a doctorate in Arabic studies and manuscripts.

Manuscripts from all over the region covering a range of subjects including religion, mathematics and grammar are tended to by "Dr Document", ensuring that countless fragments of history are salvaged and protected. Some UAE documents that have received surgery date back 150 years - letters between rulers, documents from pearl diving days - meaning more chapters can be added to the nation's earliest history.

This is not the only field where the country's heritage is being preserved. The discovery and protection of petroglyphs in the Northern Emirates has over the last few years continued to highlight a far more comprehensive past than previously thought. We can only hope that as more discoveries are made they are treated with the same steady hand as those under Dr Document's care.

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