The German Archaeological Insitute conducts a training programme with Jordanians and Syrian refugees on traditional stonemasonry in Gadara/Umm Qays (North Jordan).
Fourteen Jordan and Syrian craftsmen stand proudly behind their work. These are snow-white limestone blocks, cornices and column drums made from Jordan limestone. All this is the result of almost three months of craftsmanship carried out as part of the training project in Gadara/Umm Qays in North Jordan, which is supervised by the building archaeologist Dr. Claudia Bührig of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.
The stonemason’s craft is almost completely lost in Jordan, but it is still in use in Syria. Because of the war many people fled to the southern neighbouring country of Jordan. Therefore it was suggested that a training in craftsmanship be carried out in the immediate surroundings of the antique city complex of Gadara for participants from both countries in order to reactivate and conserve this important craft in a region rich in stones.
Using simple tools – wooden mallets, punch hammers, flat chisels, point chisels and toothed chisels – the limestone as well as the harder basalt stone is processed manually as was the case two thousand years ago and, as in the past, accurate and elegant architectural elements are created. The practical part was supervised by the master stonemason and craft restorer André Gravert from Magdeburg and the assistant stonemason and building archaeologist Tobias Horn from Weimar. The training was financed by the special “Flight and Migration” funds of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Both training programmes are planned for spring and autumn 2017 in order to give the participants the opportunity to cooperate in the preservation and reconstruction of monuments and to raise awareness of their value and significance among the population and among tourists in an appropriate manner.
Dr. Claudia Bührig
Dr. Frank Andraschko