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
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.