Within the Mediterranean region, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya, are amongst the richest countries in mosaic heritage, both for quantity and for quality. This precious heritage represents the material memory of mankind and a potentially enormous economic resource for a sustainable future of the local populations. Despite their importance, mosaics are neglected, vandalized, looted or lost in museum and site deposits. This scenario can be ascribed to the inherent fragility of mosaics and to the fact that they are affected by numerous aggressors, both natural and human ones. Therefore, their preservation calls for constant and qualified care.
The MCC, Mosaic Conservation Course 2011-2016 is a program designed to reinforce institutional capacities for managing the legacy of mosaics in Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya. It aims to prepare a well-equipped group of professional conservators, sustained by local authorities and linked to an international professional network, capable of dealing autonomously with the care and conservation of archaeological mosaics.
The members of this group will be ready to become themselves trainers of new generations of conservators.
The MCC program is born within the context of the MOSAIKON project, a collaborative initiative of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the Getty Foundation, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome (ICCROM), and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM). The initiative was designed in response to the growing need to increase capacities for the conservation and management of mosaic heritage, whether in situ or in museums.
The ultimate goal of MOSAIKON is to safeguard this important cultural heritage and to improve public access and appreciation.
See more on MOSAIKON initiative:
The Mosaic Conservation Course (MCC) program has been developed by the CCA, Centro di Conservazione Archeologica of Rome, and it is supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation.
It was born as a two-years project, MCC 2011-2013, which involved two training courses for conservators-restorers from the Departments of Antiquities of Syria, Jordan and Tunisia. Following this, the program has been renewed with MCC 2014-2016, which has seen the involvement of Libya in addition to the other three countries.
The whole program, still running, is based on three lines of action:
The educational curriculum is designed according to different levels of specialization, both theoretical and technical: the first level, the most general one, focuses on basic training in methodological principles of contemporary conservation, in intervention techniques for re-application of detached mosaics, in documentation techniques, material science and analysis of deterioration factors and processes.
This first educational level was aimed to a group of twenty-eight participants from the four countries.
The second educational level represents a level of advanced studies for professional conservators and trainers. Taught subjects are targeted to look in depth into single issues covered during the general courses, and they introduce participants to teaching and communication techniques within the specific field of conservation, of intervention planning and budgeting, as well as increasing their knowledge regarding digital documentation and intervention techniques for both detached and in situ mosaics.
This specialization level is aimed to a group selected among participants of the first-level courses, following positive results in the evaluation tests.
The curriculum is formed by theoretical lectures and practical work both in laboratory and in situ: interventions are undertaken on archaeological mosaics, allowing participants to immediately apply techniques learnt in the classroom. Case studies discussed with professionals of the field, study visits to archaeological sites with mosaics and visits to restoration laboratories of well-known Italian institutions complete the educational curriculum.
All courses are held with a simultaneous translation in Arabic.
First level courses held are:
MCC Syria 2011-2012, a program organized by CCA in collaboration with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM), for nine conservator-restorers.
MCC Jordan&Tunisia 2012-2013, a program organized by CCA in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA) and the Institute National du Patrimoine (INP) of Tunisia and aimed to six conservator-restorers (three for each country).
MCC Libya 2014, organized by CCA in collaboration with the Libyan Department of Antiquities, aimed to five Libyan conservators-restorers and one participant from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM).
MCC Jordan, Syria and Tunisia 2014, a program organized by CCA in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA), the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM) and the Institute National du Patrimoine (INP) of Tunisia and aimed to three conservator-restorers from Jordan, one conservator-restorer from Syria and three conservator-restorers from Tunisia.
Specialization courses held are:
MCC 2015-1 and MCC 2015-3, a program organized by CCA in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA), the Department of Antiquities of Libya and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM). Participants were two Jordanian conservators-restorers, three Libyan conservators-restorers and two Syrian conservator-restorer.
MCC 2015-2, a program organized by CCA in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (DoA), the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM) and the Institute National du Patrimoine (INP) of Tunisia and aimed to three Jordanian conservators-restorers, two Syrian conservator-restorers and three Tunisian conservators-restorers.
The second line of action involves general meetings of all course participants, to share and discuss issues related to professional experiences in the different countries and common needs in dealing with conservation of mosaic heritage. Participants are encouraged to present examples of relevant on-going conservation projects, or problematic cases requiring effective solutions, in order to share strategies adopted and possible solutions with their colleagues.
These meetings have the goal of creating and strengthening a professional network among neighboring countries that share a chronic lack of professional and economic resources and a great number of sites with mosaics threatened by destruction.
The first event, MCC meeting 2014 took place on the 25th of October 2014, in Alghero (Sardinia), in conjunction with the 12th Conference of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM).
The definitive goal of MCC 2011-2016 is to support Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya in the process of designing and implementing effective and sustainable strategies for the conservation of mosaics in the frame of an international professional network.
Networking activities, that will take place on the web, at meetings and by attending international conferences, aim to create a strong regional network dedicated to sustain the professional activities of the participants.
Activities implemented until today have been: