Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage


UNESCO International Expert Meeting: Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage

General Director of Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, Syria reporting on the extent of damage to Syria’s cultural heritage

 In April 2011, a large-scale pro-democracy movement developed in Syria, and that groundswell shows no sign of stopping. In actuality, Syria is currently in a state of civil war. There are over 140,000 dead in Syria, and over 4 million people have fled the country.
 Damage to Syria’s cultural heritage has made major news as the civil war unfolds. World heritage sites that epitomize Syria, such as Aleppo, Palmyra, and Krak des Chevaliers, have become battlegrounds. Many archaeological sites have been looted and many museums have been plundered. The illegal export of cultural properties from Syria is an international concern.
 In light of this situation, UNESCO began a new project, Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage, this March to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage with the support of the EU.
 As part of this project, “International Expert Meeting: Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage” was convened by UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris from May 26 to 28. The meeting was attended by over 120 experts from 22 countries. Two of those experts were YAMAUCHI Kazuya and ABE Masashi from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The extent of damage to Syria’s cultural heritage was reported at the meeting, and future strategies to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage were actively discussed.


Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

Young Kirgiz experts restoring and reconstructing a clay pot

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has conducted training workshops on Documentation, Excavation, Conservation, and Site Management in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2011. This program was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan in order to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia.
 From February 10 to 15, 2014, the JCICC jointly conducted its 6th workshop, a Training Workshop on Conservation of Excavated Objects, with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic.
 During the workshop, trainees brought in archeological objects that had been excavated in the Kyrgyz Republic. Guided by experts, the trainees conserved these objects. A new element was added to the workshop in which trainees practiced Creating Replicas of Archeological Objects.
 The 6th workshop was attended by 8 young Kirgiz experts who had attended all of the previous workshops. In addition, Professor Kubatbek TABALDIEV of Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University brought students with him to observe the workshop. The workshop ended a great success.
 The JCICC plans to continue conducting various training workshops in the future in order to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia.


UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust Project, “Support for Documentation Standards and Procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial Transnational Nomination Dossier within the Framework of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination”: Uzbek Workshop and Sub-Regional Closing Meeting

Trainees creating 3D images based on photographic surveys

 Five countries in Central Asia and China have been involved in various efforts to nominate cultural heritage sites along the Silk Roads as World Heritage Sites in 2014. To support these efforts, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has participated in UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust Project, “Support for Documentation Standards and Procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial Transnational Nomination Dossier within the Framework of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination”: Uzbek Workshop and Sub-Regional Closing Meeting for 3 years since 2011 and JCICC has conducted various training workshops in countries in Central Asia.
 This workshop marks the final training workshop. The workshop was conducted from December 1st to 3rd in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at the UNESCO Office in Tashkent. Training covered Photographic Surveys of Cultural Heritage Sites. Fourteen young experts participated in the training.
 Once the training workshop concluded, We attended the sub-regional closing meeting of the project that took place in Tashkent on December 4th and 5th. The meeting reviewed the training program conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the University College London in countries of Central Asia. Representatives from different countries asked that training be conducted in the future as well. They specifically asked that training related to Surveys of Historical Buildings, Preservation of Sites, and Management of Cultural Heritage be conducted.


Symposium “Syria’s Recovery and Its Cultural Heritage”

Presentation given by Dr. Youssef KANJOU

 Pro-democracy movements in the Middle East that originated from the Arab Spring have caused major changes in the Arab world. A large-scale democracy movement began in Syria in April 2011, and where this swell will lead is not known. The nation is currently in a de facto state of civil war. Syria has already experienced over 100,000 deaths, and many citizens have been forced to flee. Opposition is growing as Syrians flee to neighboring countries, and there appears to be no end in sight to the conflict.
 As the civil war unfolds, the destruction of cultural heritage has again captured headlines around the world. Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, is renowned as an ancient capital with scenic views, but the city has been home to severe fighting during the war. Cultural heritage is at great risk, as evinced by the burning of historical souqs (markets or bazaars) that led the city to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site and destruction of the much of the Ancient City of Aleppo. In light of continued fighting, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee placed all 6 of the World Heritage sites in Syria on the List of World Heritage in Danger on June 20, 2013.
 In light of these circumstances, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo hosted a symposium on “Syria’s Recovery and Its Cultural Heritage” on October 31st with the backing of the Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology.
 During the symposium, presentations were given by 9 experts, including Dr. Youssef KANJOU, the current Director of Antiquities and Museums of Aleppo. Presentations covered the Current State and Future Direction of the Syrian Civil War, Syria’s History and Cultural Heritage, the Extent of Destruction of Cultural Heritage by the Syrian Civil War, and Restoration of Cultural Heritage and National Recovery. A panel discussion followed the presentations, where the topic of What Should Be Done to Restore Syria’s Cultural Heritage Now and in the Future was actively discussed.


The Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project: Training Workshop for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Central Asia

Excavation practice at the Ak Besim site

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan to conduct training regarding the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Central Asia since 2011. To that end, the JCICC has conducted a series of training workshops on Documentation, Excavations, Conservation, and Site Management in the Kyrgyz Republic and elsewhere in Central Asia.
 The fifth workshop, a Training Workshop on Excavation of Ruins, Conservation of Unearthed Objects, and Site Management, was conducted jointly with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic over a 17-day period from August 27th to September 12th. 
 During the workshop, trainees actually practiced excavation at the site of the medieval fortified town of Ak Besim. Trainees also practiced collecting fragile artifacts and removing soil layers. Lectures on site management were also given, and site management was planned with Ak Besim in mind.
 The fifth workshop was attended by 14 young experts, including 8 experts from the Kyrgyz Republic, 1 expert from Armenia, 1 from Turkmenistan, 1 from Kazakhstan, and 1 from Tajikistan, and 2 experts from Afghanistan.
 The JCICC plans to conduct various training workshops to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the future as well.


The Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

A trainee cleaning a metal object

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has undertaken a four-year training project since 2011. As part of the project, a series of workshops will be held covering “documentation,” “excavations,” “conservation,” and “site management.”
 The fourth workshop, a “Training Workshop on Conservation of Archaeological Objects and Documentation of Excavated Objects,” was held jointly with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic from February 8 to 14, 2013. A total of eight young Kyrgyz trainees participated in the workshop.
 During the workshop, trainees received practical training in “pottery reconstruction,” “metal conservation,” and “pottery drawing” using archaeological objects that were excavated during the 3rd workshop in the summer of 2012.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to conduct various workshops to protect cultural heritage in Central Asia next year as well.


The Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

On-site excavation training

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been conducting a four-year training program in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2011 to protect Central Asian cultural heritage. This program was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, and plans are to hold a series of workshops covering documentation, excavations, conservation, and site management.
 This year, the third workshop was held from September 1 to 17. The main topics of the workshop were “archaeological excavations” and “conservation of archaeological objects.” The workshop was organized jointly with the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic. A total of 14 trainees participated in the workshop. They came from Kyrgyz, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. Trainees excavated the site at Ak Beshim with trainers and studied the basic methods of excavations and conservation of archaeological objects on-site.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to organize training workshops next year as well.


Seminar on “ Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic”

Ms. Tentieva during the presentation

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation started a new project, the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia,” in 2011. This project was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan and aims to train young experts in Central Asia in the protection of cultural heritage in Central Asia.
 As a part of this project, three experts, Dr. Bakit Amanbaeva, Ms. Aidai Sulaimanova, and Ms. Ainura Tentieva, were invited to Japan and a seminar on “Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic” was held at the Institute. Dr. Amanbaeva and Ms. Sulaimanova reviewed new archaeological discoveries in the Kyrgyz Republic and Dr. Tentieva spoke about Kyrgyz intangible cultural heritage.


The Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

Trainees studying pottery

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to undertake a four-year training program from 2011 to 2014. Under this program, a series of workshops covering documentation, excavations, conservation, and site management will be held in the medieval fortified town of Ak Besim in the Chuy Valley, Kyrgyz Republic. This program has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan and aims to train young experts in Central Asian countries in the protection of cultural heritage in Central Asia.
 This year, two workshops on the documentation of cultural heritage were planned. The first workshop, which covered archaeological surveys, was conducted last October.
 The second workshop was held at the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic from February 4 to 10, 2012. A total of eight Kyrgyz trainees participated in the workshop and keenly studied archaeological objects such as pottery, stone tools, and clay figurines. They also practiced rubbing techniques and photography and they visited a traditional pottery workshop in Bishkek to study pottery production.
 Such workshops should help to protect cultural heritage in Central Asia in the future.


Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads: Workshops in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic to foster experts in Central Asia

On-site training in GPR use at the Boraldai burial mound site.
Lecture on analysis of collected data from geophysical surveys.
On-site training in measurement at the Ken Bulun site.

 Five Central Asian countries and China are now proceeding with various activities to facilitate the serial nomination of cultural heritage sites along the Silk Roads in Central Asia as the “Silk Road.” The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) participated in a project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads (UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust project) starting this year and JCICC started various activities in Central Asia. Within the framework of this project, JCICC organized workshops in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic in order to teach and train personnel.
 In Kazakhstan, a workshop on methods of geophysical surveying was conducted from September 27th to October 19th in cooperation with JCICC, Nara NRICP, and the Kazakhstan Archeological Expertise Scientific Research Organization. Archaeologists from Kazakhstan as well as from other countries participated in the workshop.
 In on-site training during the workshop, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistivity imaging were used at the Boraldai burial mound site near Almaty (Photo 1) and the ancient city of Sauran northwest of Turkestan. Trainees were quite enthusiastic (Photo 2) and learned much in a limited time.
 Although this was essentially the first attempt at a geophysical survey of archaeological sites in Kazakhstan, results were sufficient to depict buried structures. In the future, the effectiveness of these geophysical survey techniques must be examined and their results must be verified through attempts at various types of archaeological sites and excavations. However, geophysical surveys are sure to be utilized given conditions in Central Asia, where numerous archaeological sites must be surveyed by a limited number of personnel.
 In the Kyrgyz Republic, a workshop on measuring archaeological sites was held from October 18th to 24th. Eight experts from the Kyrgyz Republic participated in the workshop, organized by JCICC, Doushishya University, and the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the Kyrgyz Republic’s National Academy of Sciences.
 After the lectures on the principles and methods of measurement, on-site training was conducted in the medieval city of Ken Bulun (Photo 3). Although the workshop lasted only 1 week, trainees clearly grasped the principles of measurement and learned measuring techniques.
 JCICC will continue to conduct workshops in Central Asia to teach and train personnel in the protection of cultural heritage.


Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

On-site Training of Archaeological Survey

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation started a four-year training program this year. In this program, a series of workshops covering documentation, excavations, conservation, and site management will be undertaken in the medieval fortified town of Ak Besim in the Chuy Valley of the Kyrgyz Republic. This program has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan and aims to train young experts in Central Asian countries in the protection of cultural heritage in Central Asia.
 This year, the first workshop was held from October 6th to 17th in cooperation with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The main topic of this workshop was documentation of archaeological sites. Trainees received lectures at the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage in Bishkek and received on-site training in archaeological surveys using total stations at the Ak Besim site. A total of 12 young experts joined the workshop as trainees. Eight trainees were from Kyrgyz while the remaining 4 were from the 4 other countries of Central Asia. Every trainee enthusiastically participated in the workshop to become skilled in archaeological surveys. Another important result of the workshop was the friendships that were fostered among trainees through the workshop.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to conduct various workshops for the protection of cultural heritage in Central Asia in the future as well.


Conclusion of an Agreement between the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of Academy of Science of the Kyrgyz Republic and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan for Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of the Kyrgyz Republic

Conclusion of the Agreement

 On June 27, 2011, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) and Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, Academy of Science of the Kyrgyz Republic concluded an agreement and memorandum of understanding to protect Cultural Heritage in Kyrgyz.
 NRICPT will conduct a training program and a program on conservation of cultural heritage with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage and jointly organize a symposium with the Institute.
 This autumn, NRICPT plans to conduct a program to train Kyrgyz personnel in documentation, excavation, conservation, and maintenance of historical sites in the medieval town of Ak Besim along the Chu River.


Participation in the Ashgabat Meeting to nominate Silk Road sites for inscription on the World Heritage List

Meeting of the Coordinating Committee on the Serial World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Roads

 Sponsored by UESCO, a meeting of the Coordinating Committee on the Serial World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Roads took place May 3–6 in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Two individuals from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo attended: Masahi Abe and Kazuya Yamauchi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation. The meeting was attended by representatives from the 5 central Asian states and China, India, Nepal, Iran, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Japan. The meeting actively discussed policies for future efforts to nominate sites for inscription on the World Heritage List on February 1, 2013. At the meeting, Kazuya Yamauchi explained the Program to Encourage Inscription of Silk Road Sites on the World Heritage List of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo.


Training of Iraqi Specialists for conservation

Training to clean the surface of metal

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation have used the government subsidized budget for the Cooperative Project for the Conser-vation of Cultural Heritage in West Asia and UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in Trust and invited Iraqi conservation specialists to Japan every year since 2004 for training on conservation of cultural heritage.
 This year three specialists in conservation – Ali Ganim, Nafla Nabil and Fadil Abdul Hadi – have been invited from the Iraq National Museum, and training will last for about three months from September 22nd to December 9th. They are to receive training on equipment for the conservation of cultural properties, lectures and practical training on conservation of wood products and metal products. It is also planned that they visit the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara, the University Museum, the University of Tokyo, The Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University and the Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation.


Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site project – Overview of 10th mission

A local conservator restoring a mural painting

 Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been conducting the Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site project jointly with Ministry of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2003. This year, we dispatched the 10th mission from July 9 to 30 to conserve mural paintings and conduct archaeological investigations.
 In the conservation of mural paintings, we started work in caves C (a), C (b), D and D1 which are adjacent to the East Giant Buddha. Damage caused by vandalization, objects being cut out and sold, and graffiti by tourists was especially conspicuous in these easily accessible four caves. This year, we completed emergency treatment of the mural paintings remaining in cave C (a) and the veranda part of cave D. The work in these four caves will continue for opening to the public from next year on.
 Organizing materials of archeological objects obtained in previous missions was conducted. These objects were discovered while making trial excavation investigations in different spots and cleaning Buddhist caves, and are very important materials that tell us about the history of the Bamiyan Valley. We also conducted a preliminary survey on the Shahr-e Zohak site, a candidate for excavation and investigation from next year on, and the spot where a castle is thought to have existed in the Bamiyan site.


Lecture on the Current Status of Cultural Property Protection in Iraq

Ms. Amira Edan al-Dahab giving a lecture.

 On December 2, we hosted a lecture by Ms. Amira Edan al-Dahab, the chief of the secretariat of Iraq National Museum, at the meeting room on the basement floor of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The news on the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum in chaos in after the Iraq War shocked the world. The Iraq National Museum resumed operation at last in February 2009, supported by the international community, including Japan, Italy, and many other countries.
 Ms. Amira came to Japan this time under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry’s “Invitation for Promoting Partnership in the 21th Century”, and took this opportunity to hold a lecture. She reported on the long path from the looting of the Museum to its re-opening and the numerous troubles that accompanied each step with showing many photos. Ms. Amira also referred to the training of Iraqi conservators that is held by the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, funded by grants from the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust and the Institute, and the government subsidized budget ,and repeatedly asserted that the continuous support from Japan is indispensable to restore the cultural properties in Iraq.


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