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

Standards and Tools

From the Archaeological Survey to the Conservation Inventory

A Guide to Planning Shelters over Archaeological Sites and over Mosaics

Exposing and Treating Plaster, Stucco and Wall Paintings at Archaeological Sites: A Guide for Field Archaeologists and Conservators
Glossary for the Conservation of the Built Heritage
Yael Alef

As Hebrew speakers we are often forced to articulate a wide range of conservation interventions with just two words: ‘shimur’ (conservation) and ‘shihzur’ (restoration); attempts at expressing other ideas are for the most part faltering and awkward. In a certain sense conservation in Israel is ‘pioneering’, as are the conservation terms in Hebrew. The existing lack of Hebrew conservation terms makes it difficult to communicate for all those who are engaged in the profession. For example, the term ‘shihzur’ is used at the same time as a translation for both of the English terms ‘restoration’ and ‘reconstruction’, which are in fact two completely different levels of intervention. That is to say, not only are there words that are missing in Hebrew, but the routine terms also, among them ‘shimur’, ‘shihzur’, ‘tahzukah’ (maintenence), and ‘moreshet tarbut’ (cultural heritage) are insufficiently clear and are subject to a broad range of interpretation. Just as it is not possible to explain an archaeological site without agreed upon nomenclature that is used to describe the artifacts, the architectural remains or the archaeological periods, so too it is impossible to explain the physical problems at a site without agreeing for example on defined concepts for the kinds of deterioration. Similarly, the discussion about the values of the site and its treatment lacks purpose, and is almost impossible, if we do to use accepted basic concepts. Implementing a work order will be a complicated task in the absence of the definition of an agreed upon hierarchy of the levels of intervention and conservation stages.
This glossary of terms was compiled in recognition of the lack of accepted Hebrew terms for describing the range of conservation activities and concepts, and in order to create an agreed upon language for the everyday work of those engaged in executing and supervising conservation work, in research and in the training of conservators.
The Hebrew glossary of terms is based on the interpretation in the international conservation charters of ICOMOS and UNESCO [1], as well as on policy papers and guidelines of conservation groups from the United States, the European Union, England, Australia etc. At this point it should also be noted that because of language limitations the sources that are presented here are in English only. The glossary relies in part on terms that have already been translated and published on behalf of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (Schweid, Turner and Solar 1995), the Israel National Commission for UNESCO and the Israel Antiquities Authority [2]. The English definitions (often taken from several documents) are presented alongside the Hebrew terms in order to afford the reader a deeper understanding of them.

We encountered several difficulties when we were preparing the glossary:
(1) We were unable to find a comprehensive glossary of conservation terms to assist us and therefore all of the terms were gathered and collected from policy papers and from incomplete lists that were published on the internet.
(2) There is no uniformity in foreign languages either. For example, in the English speaking countries it is customary to say ‘conservator’ whereas the Romance languages and German use the term ‘restorer’. Even in English the terms that are used for conservation frequently vary from place to place: in England, for example, they use the term ‘heritage conservation’ while in the United States the accepted term is ‘historic preservation’.
(3) There is still no standard international terminology. It is currently being formulated and is still far from finished [3].
All these factors have made the work of translating and writing a complicated and challenging task.

The glossary of terms is more than just a ‘technical’ list of words that defines concepts for those interested in conservation. The very choice of the ideas and their organization articulate the conservation concept and the language of the practical work of those who are involved in the profession at a given time. With the change in the concept of culture, the concept of conservation also changes, and with it the language of conservation. New ideas filter into the language and the meaning of existing ideas change (for example, broadening the concept of authenticity in the Nara Charter). This glossary of terms reflects the concepts that are accepted today and does not pretend to trace the development of these concepts over time, which is a fascinating subject in and of itself.
In conclusion, the primary purpose of this glossary of terms is to open up the communication amongst those participating in the conservation dialogue in the country and improve it. To this end the glossary clarifies the Hebrew concepts that exist in conservation, and offers a translation of concepts which exist in foreign languages but are missing in Hebrew. The concepts are organized in groups according to the fields of activity in conservation, and include basic definitions which touch on the essence of heritage, concepts in conservation ethics and operating methods that are accepted in conservation today.

The work has ended at this stage but it is not complete, both from the standpoint of the selection of the concepts and in the wording of the definitions. The crystallization of the professional language is a dynamic process and we invite reader

Download  the Hebrew-English Glossary (PDF, 980kb)
[1]  In the past seventy years dozens of charters have been written, most of which open with a declaration about the importance of heritage conservation, specifically the heritage components and their meaning to society. The charters outline ways of preserving heritage by legal, social and institutional means. They define an ethical framework and explain what is acceptable in the profession and what is not, and also define concepts for creating a common language amongst those engaged in the field. The charters are, in fact, a guide for the proper practice of conservation.
The charters were written on behalf of international bodies, such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, and national and professional bodies, such as ICOMOS. The international bodies deal with the broad definition of universal values as they are articulated in the Venice Charter, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the Burra Charter. The national bodies for the most part adopt the international principles and adapt them to local charters, for example the Australian Burra Charter, the ICOMOS New Zealand charter and the Canadian Appleton charter. Charters of another kind deal with specific topics of conservation, for example, the Florence Charter for the preservation of historic gardens and landscapes, the Principles for Recording Monuments, Groups of Buildings and Sites, the Washington Charter for the Conservation of Historic Towns and Urban Areas, etc.

[2]   See the Israel Antiquities Authority: Policy Paper on the Conservation of Built Heritage, 2003.
[3]  In 2004 the Technical Committee for the Conservation of Cultural Property (CEN/TC 346 – Conservation of Cultural Property) was established within the framework of an umbrella body of standardization organizations representing nineteen countries in the European Union (CEN). The activities of the committee also include formulating terminology relevant to cultural properties, their conservation, and their components for the benefit of creating a common European terminology as part of a European standard for conservation. CEN/TC 346 – Standards under Development.

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