Completion of the training for earthen structures conservation group, a part of the program for capacity development along the Silk Road in China
The training for the third year of the earthen structures conservation group in the project for capacity development along the Silk Road was jointly conducted with the National Institute of Cultural Properties of China at Guazhou, Gansu province for 2 months from September 1, 2008. A completion ceremony was held on October 31 to mark the end of a training that took place for a total of 7 months over 3 years.
Earthen structures include buildings above ground built by piling mud bricks and sites unearthed during archeological excavations. In Japan there are many examples of archeological sites that have been conserved but, since there are few buildings above ground made of dried earth alone, Japan lacks experience in the conservation of such buildings. These sites that remain in various locations along the Silk Road from West Asia to China are like landmarks of the movement of the culture of the west to Japan, on the east end of the Silk Road. For this reason, it is significant in terms of cooperation to foster human resources to protect these sites. Until now, Japanese specialists have continued to cooperate in conservation activities in Iran and other countries in Central Asia. In this particular training, conservation techniques were applied to the earthen gate pillars of graves built in the Gobi Desert of Guazhou some 2,000 years ago. The 12 trainees freely used the concepts and theories they learned through their training during the past 29 months to consider the most appropriate method for the conservation of the site based on on-site investigation and observation. They also conducted the actual conservation work. In addition, they compiled a report that summarizes their three-year training. It is hoped that they will return to their respective areas and engage in conservation of earthen structures as local leaders.