ICCROM-ATHAR concludes course on Conservation of Stone and Mortar in Historic Buildings
14 September 2017

Under the Patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, with the participation of 20 professionals from ten Arab countries, ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre (ICCROM-ATHAR) and the Sharjah Institute for Heritage concluded a short training course entitled “Introduction to the Conservation of Stone and Mortar in Heritage Buildings” from 10 to 14 September 2017. This course was the second in a series of five training courses focusing on Architectural Documentation, Conservation of Stone and Mortar, Structural Conservation, Management of Historical Sites and Conservation of Earthen Architecture. The short refresher course series aim to provide the latest experiences in conservation practices through theoretical and practical training.

This series also aims to improve the participants’ skills and knowledge. Participants of this course came from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia.

Course team:

  1. Adel El-Turki, Material Scientist, United Kingdom/ Libya
  2. Simon Warrack, Conservator, United Kingdom/ Italy
  3. Zaki Aslan, Director, ICCROM-ATHAR
  4. Anwar Sabik, Project Specialist, ICCROM-ATHAR
  5. Abdullah Halawah, Project Specialist, ICCROM-ATHAR
  6. Lama Said, Intern, ICCROM-ATHAR
  7. Kareem Karame, Project Consultant, ICCROM-ATHAR


  1. Fatema ABDULNABI, Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Bahrain
  2. Meqdad ABOELGREED, Antiquities and Heritage Department, UAE
  3. Muhammad AL-ABSI, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan
  4. Zeyad ABU OUDEH, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Palestine
  5. Enas AHMED, Egyptian Museum, Egypt
  6. Ola BILAL, General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, Syria
  7. Yousif ELSYED, Art-Shendi University, Department of Archaeology, Sudan
  8. Shaima AL-HAJIRI, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  9. Ghaliya AL-HAMMADI, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  10. Sultan AL-HAMMADI, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  11. Rania KANNOUMA, Archaeology and Heritage Department, UAE
  12. Belhassan KINBI, The National Heritage Institute, Tunisia
  13. Abdulla MOHAMMED, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  14. Osama MOHAMMED, Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt
  15. Sabry MRAIHEJ, State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Iraq
  16. Sara AL-NAQBI, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  17. Faiza RAICHE, University Algiers III, Algeria
  18. Ola SHAKER, Turath: Architecture and Urban Design, Jordan
  19. Manal SHALO, Sharjah Institute of Heritage, UAE
  20. Ebaa AL-SHIKH, General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, Syria

The course focused on stone and mortar as one of the most important traditional materials used locally and in different parts of the Arab region. It included lab work aimed at characterising stone and mortar, understanding the stages of mechanical and chemical deterioration, and identifying proprieties and causes of deterioration to develop appropriate treatment and conservation interventions. Aside from the theoretical lectures, the participants were also introduced to testing porosity of stone, and were given the chance to mix different types of mortar at a laboratory. Once they learnt the theoretical and practical principles for conserving stone and mortar, the participants were then taken to a historic house in the Heart of Sharjah, where they conducted practical work and hands-on exercises related to mixing and grouting. This gave them an opportunity to further understand the application of mortar, pointing and other application techniques on different types of stone.

During the lectures, the experts presented a wide range of stone deterioration mechanisms as well as the different types of damage that affect buildings. The participants then explored different ways to diagnose these damages spanning from traditional means such as visual, and other investigation techniques, using lasers, electron microscopy, x-ray, and ultrasound. This course gave participants the opportunity to visit the materials analysis laboratory at the University of Sharjah.

The course concluded with participants by visiting the recently restored Ad-Dour Ancient Temple by ICCROM-ATHAR. The temple, dating back to the first century AD, in the Emirate of Umm al Quwain, was used as a case study illustrating the methodologies explored during the course. ICCROM-ATHAR team of experts worked on the conservation and consolidation of this temple last year and applied integrated conservation approaches similar to the ones taught at this course.