Participant in 2014 MOSAIKON training course organized by CCA-Roma
Caring for ancient mosaics that have been lifted from their original archaeological context requires specialized skills. For MOSAIKON the Getty Foundation has focused on training related to lifted mosaics in countries with significant museum collections: Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia. Central to this effort is a partnership with the Centro di Conservazione Archeologica (CCA), an organization located outside of Rome and led by Dr. Roberto Nardi, one of the world's foremost experts in mosaics conservation.

In 2010, the Foundation awarded a grant to CCA to undertake an intensive training program for Syrian mosaics restorers in Damascus. Given the subsequent turmoil in the region, the project was relocated to CCA's headquarters. What began as obstacle ended up enhancing the program, as CCA staff found many benefits to moving the training to Italy. Participants formed a cohesive community—working together for concentrated periods of time without the distractions of home—and they also had the opportunity to study at nearby archaeological sites, museums, and conservation laboratories. Moreover, thanks to an agreement with the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, CCA had access to the collections of the Museo delle Terme, allowing course participants to apply the techniques they learned in the classroom to the conservation of several second-century Roman mosaics. This successful model was then repeated for mosaic restorers from Tunisia and Jordan, and overall 16 restorers completed training with CCA.
After the program ended, MOSAIKON participants returned home and began using the skills they acquired to improve the care of lifted mosaics in museums. Today these restorers are able to analyze conditions that put mosaics at risk, implement basic conservation treatments, carry out proper documentation, and complete technical reports to the highest standards. For example, three of the Syrian participants now based at the central laboratory in Damascus have organized a beginning course for restorers using the materials and methods they learned in Italy and are carrying out treatments on mosaics of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus—even in the midst of a civil war.

In 2013 the Getty Foundation awarded a second grant to allow CCA to continue and expand the first training program. The grant began in spring 2014 with customized training for Libyan restorers, and will continue with additional courses over the next three years for restorers from Jordan, Tunisia, and Syria. The program will include follow-up mentoring for participants at their home institutions, as well as advanced training for select MOSAIKON participants to prepare these individuals to act as trainers themselves. CCA conservators will also work with participants to set up basic conservation laboratories in their home countries and improve collections storage. The Getty will share updates as the training program progresses.

Top: Participant in 2014 MOSAIKON training workshop at CCA. Photo: Araldo de Luca
Above: Libyan restorers working with CCA staff to conserve a second-century Roman mosaic during the spring 2014 MOSAIKON training workshop. Photo: Araldo de Luca

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