Conservation and management of heritage sites (June 2018)

The training programme (24th-30th June) covered heritage management and public engagement and was run by KCL.

Training team

The team that carried out the training consisted of Dr William Wootton (KCL), Dr Hiba Alkhalaf (KCL) with the assistance of the consultants Prof. Alaa Elhabashi (University of Menoufia) and John Stewart (Historic England), as well as the team from Durham University Prof Anna Leone and Dr Marco Nebbia. The training was supported by Dr Ammar Othman (INP) and with the help and assistance of Dr Ahmed Saad (Univeristy of Benghazi) and Mr Ziad Siala (DoA).

Objectives

The aim was twofold: first, to provide the basic training for the new participants, 26 members from the Department of Antiquities of Libya (DoA) and the Institut National de Patrimoine de Tunisie (INP); second, to start the next phase of the facilitators’ training (8 from last year trainees) who assisted with selected activities.

Training

The facilitators who took part in the training were: Nabil Belmabrouk, Nesrine Derbel, Rached Hamdi, Yacine Lakhal, and Hela Mekki from the Institut National de Patrimoine de Tunisie (INP); Abdulsamad Alshiyin, Mahmoud Hadia, and Ahmed Masoud from the Department of Antiquities of Libya (DOA).

The new trainees who took part at the training were: Talel Messadi, Nadia Tebai, Néji Gahgouh, Abd Allah Nayli, Nour al-Houda Ajili, Kaïs Trabelsi, Imen al-Askari, Houda ben Hmida, Lina Hamdi, Nada Maatallah from INP; Faraj Telawai, Mohamed Buhailga, Nasser Alhrari (who took part in July 17 training), Hussen Mohamed Eldali, Misbah Badr, Hassan Hamoud, Ali Ahmed Mohamed Kalfalla, Abubakar Adade, Ali Yousuf Jarymi Makani, Hani Mohammed, Abdullah Mustafa, Olfa Hsini, Anouar Berchich, and Mohammed Mannaa from DoA.

During the course of the training, the KCL team produced a report that identified parts of the fort of Iunca at high risk of collapse – areas that were of immediate danger to human life and to the significant architectural features. It recommended immediate measures needed to avoid human fatality and loss of structure. This report was completed over the course of two days on site (25-26 June 2018), during the training of the participants. We discussed our observations with Dr Ammar Othman on 27th June 2018. He welcomed this initiative and requested speedy submission of the report to the Tunisian Institut National du Patrimoine. The report was officially submitted in Arabic and English on 11th July 2018 by KCL team to the INP through Dr Ammar Othman.

The team from King’s College London ran a training course which would take the participants ‘from condition assessment and management of heritage sites to public engagement’. The KCL team set out a clear training methodology to connect the training materials and exercises with the previous week and the later survey work. This methodology was shared with the participants and used throughout the week as a reference point to organise the materials and prioritize their tasks and actions. It consists of three phases: Identification and documentation of the heritage site (Week 1 and September), Assessment and analysis (Week 2), followed by the Response based on the first two phases (also Week 2). This process was translated into a closed loop diagram that emphasises the importance of monitoring, reviewing and revising each of these phases so that plans could be changed following unexpected outcomes or new challenges (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Planning Process Methodology adapted from Getty and modified to meet the workshop purposes (source)

The focus of the week was the integration of documentation with conservation and management plans: moving from photogrammetry to assessing the resources recorded, then designing, prioritizing and implementing appropriate interventions, and finally setting out a management plan for the archaeological site and its wider context. Lectures were given in a makeshift classroom in the hotel at Mahares where we also did the group work. The on-site exercises were conducted at the site of Iunca to the south of Sfax. This was accompanied by exercises in the classroom, provided by the hotel in Mahares. Amongst other activities, groups were asked to collect and assess data and values associated with the site, consider the local communities and their attachment to the site as well as their expectations and interests, engage representatives from the local communities with the design of the management plan of the site, and, finally, to design outreach activities targeting different age groups.

The main objectives of the training workshop were to empower participants to:

  • Conserve and manage their own heritage by giving them the confidence to make simple and sound decisions
  • Understand sites in terms of significance and value
  • Contextualize management in terms of local communities and stakeholders
  • Understand well-managed heritage as having important economic and social benefits by healing wounds, bridging divides and giving a sense of national pride and common identity.
  • Engage local communities through outreach activities
  • Create new professional networks and pathways to training courses run by major international organisations.

Impact

The week brought together heritage specialists from different professional backgrounds (archaeologists, architects, surveyors, and technicians) from Libya and Tunisia, all of whom worked for the DoA or INP. They collaborated with each other, assessing the condition of a specific heritage site – Iunca – and negotiating its values in order to produce an agreed plan. The exercises, discussions and events they created showed that they had developed new skills in identifying the site’s attributes and values and were also capable of setting out a vison for the site, engaging with the local community and designing interactive outreach activities. The most immediately recognisable impact, however, was when they presented their management plan to representatives of the local community, especially when negotiating and amending their visions and objectives. They all worked in a very effective way as part of their teams, agreed on certain tasks and responsibility for each member of the team. The facilitators tried their best to be effective in their team, however further training is required regarding their responsibilities and the limits they should place on assisting the work within the team.

Communication with the participants after the training has shown a clear impact in the way they now work. The participants suggested some mini-projects during this project based on what they have learnt and want to apply in the field. For example, two new participants from southern Libya have proposed to work with Abdulsamad on his outreach programme for school children in Germa. This is part of an attempt to raise awareness of the cultural significance of these areas as they are unprotected and have been heavily looted. Another participant would like to use their new skills in photogrammetry to conduct a condition assessment on one of the sites in Libya.