ICCROM-Sharjah, in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) in Lebanon, organized a five-week international training course for the conservation of in-situ mosaics from 26 March to 26 April 2019 in Byblos, Lebanon.
The training, which included six DGA employees and six government employees from Libya, Jordan and Palestine, was developed to enhance the capacity of national authorities responsible for the care of archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa to conserve their mosaic heritage. A heritage which is increasingly threatened by modern construction, looting and lack of qualified personnel requires much needed conservation and maintenance work.
The training has included classroom lessons and practical exercises at Byblos on one of the few remaining mosaics left in situ at the site. Conservation technician trainees have learned a methodology for documenting and conserving mosaics using lime mortars to stabilize them, and have also been taught how to carry out preventive conservation measures such as reburial and drainage of mosaics.
The programme complements an earlier training course held at Byblos in fall 2017 for the conservation of lifted mosaics that have been removed from their original locations. The latter course included participants from Lebanon and Algeria and was organized by the DGA and ICCROM with support from the Getty Foundation.
“The training in mosaic conservation in-situ contributes to ICCROM’s strategic directions aimed at building institutional capacities in the region”, says Webber Ndoro, Director General of ICCROM. “Such training worksites have been part of ICCROM’s work in the Arab region through its regional office in Sharjah serving the Arab Member States; it aims at consolidating a partnership with the GCI and Lebanon for future worksites” added Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM’s regional office in Sharjah, UAE.
The international team of instructors including mosaic conservation university teachers and conservators are ensuring the highest quality in theoretical and practical training in this short course, one of the courses organized under the umbrella of the MOSAIKON initiative, a collaboration of the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, ICCROM and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM).