New Integrated Knowledge based approachs to the protection of cultural heritage from Earthquake-induced Risk


About the Mosaic Conservation Section

Conservation Engineering in Israel, 1988–2013

The Bet Sheʽan Conservation Project

Conservation Concurrent with Excavating, Excavator’s Guide
A Practical Training Program for Conservators of Built Heritage
Michael Cohen and Shelley Ann Peleg

Studies in the International Center for Conservation in ‘Akko.
The practical training program for conservators of built heritage is a joint initiative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Council for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites, Nature and Parks Authority, the Planning Administration of the Ministry of the Interior and the “Milestones Program” of the Heritage Department in the Prime Minister's Office. Ra‘anan Kislev, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department, initiated the program, and it enjoys the professional backing of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). The country’s best experts are teaching in the program.
The training program has two goals:
1. To promote and raise the professional level of the conservators of built heritage who are employed by the partner organizations.
2. To promote awareness of the conservation profession in Israel and create systemic recognition of its existence.
The Rationale of the Program. Conservation of built heritage, including the various specialties therein, such as mosaic and fresco conservation, requires knowledge of a variety of subjects and skills. The conservator needs to understand the current approaches in conservation, which are derived from conservation principles and professional ethics; to be knowledgeable in building materials, ancient construction technologies, weathering and destructive factors, documentation and conservation planning; and of course to have technical knowledge and apply all these in the conservation intervention.

Gaining experience in dry stone construction in the Yehiam National Park.
Conservation studies in Israel have made considerable advances in recent years. Today, there are academic courses of study in the field of heritage conservation, and a variety of courses, short continuing education courses, study days, field trips and informal training in conservation. Yet, the last practical training course was held in 1995 by the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the need for a professional practical training program for conservationists became imperative.
The Conservation Course. The practical conservation course constitutes the core of the training program. It is held in the International Conservation Center, Citta di Roma, in Old ‘Akko and at several other sites. Workshops are held at Yehiam Fortress, Bet She'an, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Migdal Tzedek and Mamshit. The course consists of 24 one-day sessions conducted over a five month period. The participants receive a total of 192 hours of training in heritage preservation.
Conservators from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Nature and Parks Authority and the private sector were among the participants in the courses. Admission requirements to the course include an interview with a professional admissions committee made up of representatives from the partner organizations, academics and representatives from the private sector. The minimum requirements for admission were practical work experience of four years and work in the field. Course participants are required to submit exercises, and upon conclusion of the course must hand in a final work that is the project the conservator carried out. These assignments are a prerequisite for receiving a conservator’s certificate which is recognized by the program’s partner organizations.
List of Recognized Conservators. The partner organizations have taken it upon themselves to promote recognition of the profession of built-heritage conservator and institutionalize it. Thus, with the inauguration of the program, they stand committed to employ only those conservators that have recognized certification, issued by the training program operated on their behalf.
As of the summer of 2015, seventy-three individuals are recorded on the list of conservators recognized by the organizations that are partners in the training program. Thirty-four of the conservators have more than twenty years of experience in the field (the so-called “generation of the wilderness”) and thirty-nine are graduates of the first and second classes of the practical training program. The list is published on the partners’ websites.

Mud-brick conservation at Tel Bet Sheʽan.
In conclusion, a conference of conservators was held in the Eretz Israel Museum on July 14, 2015 marking the graduation of the second class of participants in the practical training for built heritage. The program’s third class is scheduled to begin in January 2016.
The effort being made in creating such a cadre will affect the level of conservation of the cultural heritage assets in Israel. The agencies charged with protecting heritage and the graduates of the conservation course are responsible for acting in a competent manner for the professional conservation of the ancient sites and historic buildings. 
The training program will continue to operate and offer both basic and specialized courses, study days and seminars for conservators, and thus contribute to the advancement of the conservation profession and for recognized certification in the field.
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August 2015

An example of a certified conservator’s certificate.

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