Regional training courses in the conservation and management of archaeological sites address the need for enhanced capacity, aiming to improve the skills and knowledge of archaeological site managers and others charged with the care and stewardship of in situ mosaics in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.
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 archaeological sites with mosaic pavements. As archaeologists, conservators 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 conservation technicians in the documentation, stabilization, and maintenance of in situ mosaics.
The GCI has contributed to these efforts through national initiatives in Tunisia, as well as a regional training course, carried out in partnership with the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) of Tunisia. This training initiative grows out of past capacity-building activities in Tunisia for site managers responsible for archaeological sites with mosaics.
The conservation and management of archaeological sites with in situ mosaics presents a complex set of challenges. MOSAIKON is addressing these challenges by implementing a series of regional training courses, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites with Mosaics. These courses put the conservation of in situ mosaics in the context of broader site management issues such as visitation, urban encroachment, development pressures, and site presentation.
Course participants are site managers, conservators, archaeologists, architects, and related cultural heritage professionals from the southern and eastern Mediterranean area. Each course lasts approximately one year, beginning with an intensive three-week workshop at a mosaic site in the region. An extended mentoring period follows, during which participants take on practical training projects at their home sites, guided by course instructors. Lastly, a final review workshop is held, which brings the participants together once again. This provides an opportunity to revisit important subjects and for the participants to share and discuss their own projects.
In partnership with different national heritage agencies, this MOSAIKON training program is addressing a number of pressing needs. The courses aim to enhance the knowledge and skills of site managers and others who are charged with the daily care and maintenance of archaeological sites throughout the region, resulting in an improved state of conservation, maintenance, and presentation of archaeological sites with mosaics. Additionally, it seeks to create professional networks within the region and beyond, by bringing together site managers from different countries within the region.
Page updated: October 2014