The workshop was co-organised by the Directorate of Archaeology & Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain and ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, UAE, in the framework of Cultural Heritage strategies of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. The workshop gained support of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), and took place at the Site of Qalat Al-Bahrain from the 13th -17th April 2014.
The 15 participants selected for the course included archaeologists, architects, site managers, museum specialists and conservators, who came from five Arab countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
This intensive five-days workshop aimed at introducing the participants to principles, guidelines and techniques for treating archaeological finds from the moment they are excavated to the time they are handed over to a professional conservator or to their final destinations at museums or storage facilities. The workshop consisted of interactive, participatory sessions, both theoretical and practical, carried out in a classroom environment. Applied work on selected archaeological materials from Qalat Al Bahrain site, as well as in the laboratory sessions complemented the work carried out in the classroom.
The lectures reviewed First Aid techniques for different types of archaeological materials based on analysis of their conditions. The lectures focused on the general treatment principles and materials including the basics of recording, lifting, cleaning, marking, packing and transportation in general. Also discussed were the specific requirements and techniques for lifting different archaeological materials according to their condition, such as ceramic, bone, and architectural remains, as well as protection and stabilisation of immovable archaeological remains in-situ.
By the end this workshop, participants are able to apply the methodology and procedures acquired throughout the workshop during the excavation of an archaeological site, being more aware of their capacity to understand their own site and improve its management.
At a closing ceremony held at the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) in Bahrain, Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, said: “the course falls within priority regional needs in this field being now attained by the newly established ICCROM Regional Centre in Sharjah with the support of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah of ICCROM’s ATHAR Programme. The collaboration with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture as well as the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) is aimed at achieving mutual benefits in implementing activities relevant to training and capacity building in the fields of cultural heritage conservation to benefit the world heritage sites in the region”. Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki, Director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) in Bahrain stressed the benefits achieved after a recent signing of the MoU between the two regional centres in Manama and Sharjah. Dr. Abd Alqader Aqeel, Director of Archaeology and Heritage, Kingdom of Bahrain, said: “this course marked the first project of a partnership between Bahrain and ICCROM through its newly established Centre in Sharjah for the benefit of the Gulf States”.
The closing ceremony, which coincided with the International Day for Monuments and Sites, ended by handing certificates to the participants of the course who benefited from expertise, brought by ICCROM and Bahrain, from Italy, USA, Egypt and Bahrain.