MOSAIKON is a partnership of four institutions: the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM). It addresses the need for enhanced capacity in the conservation and management of archaeological mosaics in the Mediterranean region through strategic targeting of priorities and deployment of resources in four components:
- strengthening the professional network and information exchange
- in situ mosaics
- mosaics in museums and storage
- university-level conservation education and training of trainers
With centuries of cultural and artistic achievement, the Mediterranean basin is an area of active archaeological excavation and research. Among the most extraordinary archaeological resources of this region are the mosaic pavements of classical antiquity. Mosaics can be found either in their original context, as part of the decorative scheme of a building or complex of buildings, or within museums where they have been placed after having been lifted and removed from their original site. Unfortunately, when mosaics are lifted and placed within a museum, valuable information is lost. Increasingly, archaeologists and conservators have acknowledged the importance of preserving extant mosaics in their archaeological contexts, where scholars and visitors alike are better able to understand their cultural values and their significance to the site as a whole. However, maintaining mosaics in situ requires measures that integrate conservation with site management, providing for the study and visitation of the site while preserving the integrity of the archaeological fabric.
In recent years, sites with archaeological mosaics have been the focus of conservation efforts by a number of national authorities, often supported by international cooperation. These efforts have included training tailored to professionals responsible for the management of one or more archaeological sites with mosaic pavements. As archaeologists and architects affiliated with national authorities, these professionals often are in a position to safeguard their sites through management approaches that incorporate conservation. Training also has been offered to technicians in the documentation, stabilization, and maintenance of in situ mosaics. The GCI has contributed to these efforts through initiatives in Tunisia, carried out in partnership with the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) of Tunisia.
These activities have improved some local conditions while increasing the number of personnel trained to conserve and maintain mosaics. Nevertheless, the need within the region for personnel trained to address the conservation of mosaics still far exceeds available resources. Moreover, capacity-building activities have not always been accomplished in a coordinated and strategic manner. As a result, important mosaic pavements continue to deteriorate at a rapid rate, with some lost forever. A regional strategy that identifies and targets priorities through a series of coordinated activities would go far to address needs while making more effective use of available human and financial resources.
The four institutions that form the MOSAIKON partnership—the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, ICCROM, and the ICCM—have long been involved with conservation generally and with mosaics conservation in particular. The partners have launched MOSAIKON to address the need for enhanced capacity in the conservation and management of archaeological mosaics in the Mediterranean region through strategic targeting of priorities and deployment of resources.
Although their collective experience allowed the MOSAIKON partners to form a preliminary concept for a regional strategy, it was important to ensure that the program reflected local realities within the various countries of the Mediterranean. For this reason, the objectives and activities of MOSAIKON were developed through a needs assessment that included consultation with representatives of twelve countries of the Mediterranean basin, as well as with a number of experts with backgrounds in the study and conservation of mosaics. The consultation process included a three-day meeting at ICCROM in May 2008; the participants discussed the most serious challenges facing mosaics conservation in the region, the initiatives currently in place, and the measures they believed necessary to provide for the long-term preservation of mosaics.
As a result of this meeting, as well as subsequent discussions with colleagues in the region, the MOSAIKON partners defined the objectives and strategy for the first five years of the project:
- to strengthen the ICCM and the network of professionals concerned with the conservation, restoration, maintenance, and management of the mosaics heritage;
- to provide training to a variety of individuals involved in mosaics conservation and, more generally, with the management of archaeological sites and museums with mosaics;
- to work with national and international bodies to provide a more favorable legislative, regulatory, and economic environment for the conservation of mosaics in the Mediterranean;
- and to promote the dissemination and exchange of information.
While the geographic focus of the MOSAIKON is the countries of the Mediterranean basin, the first phase of the program will largely center on countries in the southern and eastern parts of the region. As the program progresses, its scope will expand to include more countries. It is envisaged that several activities within MOSAIKON's broad work plan may occur simultaneously.
Similarly, in its initial phase, the project will focus on archaeological mosaics, both those in situ and those that have been lifted and are now stored or exhibited in museums. In a later phase, it is anticipated that the projects scope will encompass other aspects of mosaics heritage. The target groups for MOSAIKON are purposely broad, since success demands the engagement and cooperative actions of many players. These include:
- technicians responsible for the conservation and maintenance of mosaics;
- site managers responsible for sites with mosaics;
- trainers and educators;
- policy makers and local communities.
Generally, preference for participation in MOSAIKON's training activities will be given to those working for government authorities.
The program will be jointly managed by the partner organizations, each of which will contribute human and/or financial resources. Each of the four partners will assume leadership of specific program activities that reflect their expertise, working in collaboration with national authorities and experts in the field. MOSAIKON's activities will be guided by a regional advisory committee, which will assist in ensuring that the program targets priorities within the region. MOSAIKON's currently active components include:
- strengthening the professional network and information exchange;
- in situ mosaics;
- mosaics in museums and storage;
- university-level conservation education and training trainers.
Other components in early development include:
- policy and organizational issues;
- awareness and advocacy.
The first phase of MOSAIKON extends from 2008 to 2012. At the end of this period, the partners will undertake an evaluation of the project and its various components to ensure that the strategy is meeting its objectives. The results of this evaluation will inform the direction of subsequent phases of work.
Last updated: August 2010