The Republic of Iraq is the homeland of an unmeasurably great cultural heritage. Tens of thousands of yet unexplored archaeological sites, hundreds of thousands precious artefacts in museums and also hundreds of still preserved archaeological and historic monuments and buildings are part of this heritage. Iraq’s architectural heritage is increasingly endangered. Deliberate destruction, climate influences and erosion, as well as modern infrastructure measures have serious consequences on preservation. The answers to these threats are systematic documentation, decisions in favour of conservation or comprehensive restoration projects.
Thanks to the “Iraqi-German Expert Forum on Cultural Heritage (IGEF-CH)” the German Archaeological Institute cooperates with the Iraqi antiquities authority and also with several German institutions within a training platform, in which modern and traditional techniques of documentation, conservation and restoration are discussed, taught and applied.
In July 2016 a one-year cycle was launched, which was in particular dedicated to conservation approaches related to archaeological and historical architectural heritage. Currently eleven Iraqi archaeologists are being trained in Berlin to use methods applied in Germany and at the same time to work on their own projects and to discuss these with their German colleagues.
The IGEF-CH is part of the special programme “Stunde Null – A Future after the Crisis” and is one of the multiple activities implemented by the Baghdad Office of the German Archaeological Institute since 2003 for the cultural preservation of Iraq. From 2009 in particular various programmes have been offered for Iraqi scientists under the title “Exchanging Scientific Approaches”. The “Iraqi-German Summer Programme in Ancient Near Eastern Studies” and now the “Iraqi-German Expert Forum on Cultural Heritage (IGEF-CH)” are part of these. The programmes are generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the visiting scholars programme of the German Archaeological Institute.
The following German institutions are involved in the programme: Fachhochschule Potsdam – Fachbereich Bauingenieurswesen, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin – Studiengang Konservierung und Restaurierung, ICOMOS Deutschland, Architektenbüro Jan Martin Klessing architects, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – Fachgebiet Historische Bauforschung, Ingenieursbüro Ziegert / Seiler as well as numerous specialists of the German Archaeological Institute.
Title image: Tachymetric measurements at the underground station Podbielskiallee | © DAI