Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites with Mosaics
This training course—the third in a series of regional courses given as part of the MOSAIKON initiative—concluded in May 2018 with a weeklong workshop in Rome. Including nearly twenty participants from Algeria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, and Tunisia, this yearlong course, taught in French, began in May 2017 with a three-week workshop at the World Heritage Site of Volubilis, Morocco. A long-distance mentoring period followed, during which the participants developed practical projects at their home sites, guided by course instructors.
The course concluded with a follow-up meeting in Rome that enabled participants to see other examples of site conservation and management, including those in an urban context; there were site visits within and outside of the city.The meeting also provided an opportunity to meet Italian colleagues grappling with similar issues. Participants engaged in structured site exercises and presented their individual mentored projects. Their colleagues, the course instructors, and Italian heritage professionals provided feedback on their work.
Technician Training Course
In April–May 2018 the third module of the two-year mosaic conservation technician training course at Volubilis was carried out over five weeks, in collaboration with Direction du Patrimoine Culturel. This module focused on maintenance of mosaics detached and relaid in situ on concrete, as well as on stabilization of walls and wall plasters. The planning of conservation projects for an entire building at the site, the Maison d'Orphée, was also part of the program, as was the condition assessment and recording of medieval ceramic tile decoration (zellij) at a historic monument in the nearby World Heritage city of Meknes.
The fourth and final module of the course will occur over six weeks in October–November 2018 and will include selected technician trainees from other North African countries who participated in the previous GCI regional course. The subjects of this specialized training are the relaying in situ on lime mortar beddings of mosaics previously relaid in situ on reinforced concrete panels, and the conservation and storage of mosaics previously detached and left without support panels. This module addresses the need for trained personnel in Morocco and other countries in the MOSAIKON region to handle these two common conservation problems facing previously detached mosaics.
Paphos Conservation and Management Plan
The GCI is working with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus (DoA) on a collaborative project at the World Heritage Site of Nea Paphos and its Necropolis, known as the Tombs of the Kings, located on the southwest coast of Cyprus. The site contains Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, and Ottoman architectural remains, and, most notably, outstanding Roman mosaics.
In June 2018 the GCI team traveled to Cyprus for the second field season of this project. A priority activity of this campaign was to begin mapping the site and recording the mosaics through drone photography, photogrammetry, and laser scanning, to produce a comprehensive site plan. The Carleton Immersive Media Studio of Carleton University in Ottawa is conducting the recording and documentation, with involvement of DoA staff, and it will be developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the long-term management of the site. The GCI team began a rapid survey of the site's mosaics, looking at the state of conservation, significance, and risk, building on an existing DoA inventory of all the site's mosaics. An inventory and naming system for the buildings, rooms, and selected features on the site was developed for use in the GIS and mosaic survey and for future site documentation.
As part of the conservation and management plan, which serves as the framework for the project, assessments of the site's significance, management structure, and visitor management were begun by the GCI and DoA. In addition, the GCI and DoA teams discussed project planning and the development of a small workshop on archaeological shelters for Paphos to define criteria for protective shelters for the site's mosaics that may serve as the model for the design of future shelters at the site.