Thirty-one heritage professionals from different academic and professional backgrounds, from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The Core Regional Course of the ATHAR Programme aims at establishing and developing professional qualifications and at capacity-building for conservation professionals in the Arab region in the field of Cultural Heritage conservation and development. The programme’s overall goal is to protect and promote the rich cultural heritage in the region, and broaden access, appreciation and understanding of its past and present. The aim of this course was to enhance applied knowledge in conservation planning and management, providing a basic understanding of how to conduct and manage documentation, and to inform decisions that ensure the protection of cultural heritage sites. This foundation course will be followed by two specialized courses in 2009.
The course consisted of interactive, participatory sessions, both theoretical and practical, carried out in a classroom environment and on cultural heritage sites. Study visits and applied work at selected archaeological sites complemented the classroom work. The following topics were covered:
concepts of documentation and information gathering, recording and heritage information management;
processes and causes of deterioration and methods for condition assessment;
introduction to conservation theory and related philosophical and international aspects of protection, with particular reference to the Arab region;
conservation methods for archaeological structures and materials in situ: preventive and remedial conservation measures;
site management, planning, presentation and development: value-based site management processes, and national legal and institutional frameworks.
Participants had acquired a critical approach to the conservation of heritage sites by:
understanding the basic (international) principles of heritage conservation processes in order to devise informed site-conservation strategies;
documenting and analyzing existing physical conditions of heritage sites, diagnosing causes of deterioration, and assessing legal and institutional contexts;
recognizing methods for identifying heritage sites and defining their significance;
identifying priorities for appropriate conservation interventions at heritage sites;
identifying the potential of heritage sites in the development of their environs.