In October 2007, the GCI and Tunisia's Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) conducted a five-day workshop entitled "Du Site à la Ville" ("From the Site to the City") for twenty-five young professionals from the INP who are responsible for archaeological sites and built heritage throughout Tunisia. All of the attendees were participants in a three-week workshop jointly organized by the GCI and the INP in spring 2007 (see Conservation, vol. 22, no. 2). This is the first of several mentoring activities that will reconvene these participants at a Tunisian site.
The October workshop's main objectives were to reinforce through practical application some of the lessons learned during the earlier workshop, to strengthen professional and personal bonds among the participants, and to demonstrate the value of multidisciplinary work through a series of exercises complemented by formal presentations and discussions.
Held in El Jem, a city where urbanization and tourism have exerted significant pressure upon archaeological heritage, the workshop began by focusing on the Roman mosaics found in the insula adjacent to El Jem's museum. Using a set of developed criteria, participants were asked to survey, inventory, and assess conditions and priorities for conservation. The workshop then moved beyond the historic Roman site to the city itself, where similar analytical skills were applied to the increasingly complex issues associated with preservation planning and urban development.
City officials presented workshop participants with current urban plans and policies, and inp officials explained to the participants how Tunisia's Code du Patrimoine (Heritage Code) related to those policies. Participants then discussed the implications of these policies for the conservation and management of heritage sites. After a culminating group exercise, participants were asked to consider how the El Jem case resonated with their own work.
For more information on the GCI's training and capacity building for technicians and site management professionals in Tunisia, visit the Getty Web site.