Capacity-building and building preservation in Umm Qays (Jordan)

Capacity-building and building preservation in Umm Qays (Jordan)

Capacity-building and building preservation in Umm Qays (Jordan)


Capacity-building measures launched in Umm Qays, Jordan. The measures were implemented in April as part of the “Stunde Null – A Future for the Time after the Crisis” project.

Under the steel-blue sky and protected by olive trees, fourteen strong men, equipped with wooden mallets and forged chisels, concentrate on their work on snow-white limestone blocks amongst the ruins of the antique city of Garda with a direct view of Lake of Gennesaret in Northern Jordan. The hammering of the wooden mallets on the iron chisels in such an environment produces a fascinating sound, and this may be similar to the sound heard over two thousand years ago.

Training in Traditional Stonmasonry Techniques

In this particular training programme two German stonemasons in guild dress, master André Gravert from Magdeburg and assistant Tobias Horn from Weimar, patiently explain the bases of traditional stonemasonry to a mixed team of Jordanians and Syrians. As is the case for any craft, continuous practice is necessary until the blow is correct and the limestone block provides a flat surface.

Impression vom Workshop Capacity Building. Stonemason apprenticeship | Copyright DAI.

The aim of this very particular “travel through time” is the education and training of local craftsmen in stonemasonry, a craft almost lost in this region. The safeguarding of this “intangible cultural heritage” thanks to the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office assists the Jordanian antiquities authority in the protection and preservation of the country’s rich antique architectural heritage.

German Archaeological Institute in antique Gadara

The Hellenistic-Roman city of Gadara, the modern city of Umm Qays, where German building archaeologists and archaeologists have been excavating and working for almost fifty years. Since 2010 Dr. Claudia Bührig of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin and Dr. Frank Andraschkos of the University of Hamburg have been paying particular attention to the integration of the local population.

Here, raising awareness of the value and preservation of the antique sites is an essential task of German cultural aid. In practice this also includes the teaching of traditional stonemasonry, which can soon be implemented in situ for the safeguarding and restoration of the ruins. And hopefully the Syrian participants in the course will be given the opportunity to use the newly acquired skills in their home country.

Workshop Capacity Building in Umm Qays | © DAI.

The presence of the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, His Excellency Nayet Al Fayez, at the opening of the important annual cultural festival in Umm Qays on 28th of April 2016 was a great honour for the participants in the training course.

Author: Frank Andraschko

Source: DAI press release

JOD I. Training and Capacity Building Project “Capacity Building. Stonemason apprenticeship”
(23th April – 12th May 2016) in Gadara/Umm Qays (Jordan)
Project management – idea, concept and supervision: Dr. Claudia Bührig (DAI)
Course instructor: André Gravert und Tobias Horn (Steinmetzmeister/Restaurator im Handwerk)

JOD II. “Cultural mediation programmes for children. TRAIN THE TRAINERS II”
(30. April – 19. Mai 2016)
Project management – idea, concept and supervision: Dr. Frank Andraschko (Universität Hamburg) and Dr. Claudia Bührig (DAI)

Dr. Ing. Claudia Bührig
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
Orient-Abteilung, Berlin

Dr. Frank Andraschko
Universität Hamburg, Archäologisches Institut


Andere Artikel

Specialists of the Cultural Heritage Response Unit (KGR) at Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA) are developing and trialling a multifunctional, scalable and air-transportable system for salvaging cultural property in disasters. (more…)
from 10. January 2022 to 14. January 2022 Scheduled Post The call for applications for the next arabic online courses (13.-17. February and 13.-17. March) “Documentation of Cultural Heriage using...
Our team wishes you all the best for the new year! 2022 was a very eventful year. In our review of the year, we offer an insight into the work...