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


International Symposium “Cultural Heritage and Conflict: Protection and Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Conflict and Post-conflict”

Dr. H. O. Al-Mamori (General Director, Division of the Investigations and Excavations, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Ministry of Culture of Iraq) speaking on the recent state of destroyed ruins in Iraq

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been making efforts to protect cultural heritage in danger under conflict or in post-conflict situations, including the activity for protecting the Bamyan ruins in Afghanistan. In recent years, there has been a lot of media coverage about destruction of cultural heritage in the countries under a civil war such as Syria and Iraq. In response to such situations, following the symposiums “Rebuilding in Syria and the Cultural Heritage” held in October 2013 and “Towards Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” held in June 2014, the international symposium titled “Cultural Heritage and Conflict: Protection and Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Conflict and Post-conflict” was held at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo on January 24th, 2016.
 This symposium welcomed experts who were working at protection of cultural heritage in Afghanistan and Iraq. They spoke to us on the cultural heritage protection activities implemented in their countries thus far, critical situations that they now face, and the international support required now and in the future. The activities to protect cultural heritage that have been conducted in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq by Japanese experts were also introduced.
 The symposium was attended by more than 100 participants and the contents of the presentations were reported by various mass media, reflecting a high interest among people in protecting cultural heritage under the conflict. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation intends to continue its international contribution through various matters related to cultural heritage.


Project to Support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Road: Training Workshop in the Kyrgyz Republic

Trainee operating a small UAV

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been involved in the “Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage serial and transnational nomination in Central Asia” promoted by the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust since 2011. To support the collective listing of the Silk Road related assets expected by the five countries in Central Asia, this project is jointly implemented by research institutes in Japan and the UK.
 After “the Chang’an-Tian-shan Silk Road Corridor” nominated jointly by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz and China was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014, another application made jointly by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and one more by Turkmenistan alone are expected as well. However, there is still an issue to be settled: establishment of a sustainable management system for cultural properties under close cooperation among the five countries. Therefore, UNESCO has decided to continue to provide support by implementing Phase 2 of this project from 2014 to 2017.
 From October 2 through 10, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in charge of Kyrgyz organized a workshop to improve the documentation technique for cultural properties focusing on archaeological and architectural remains, as well as to prepare management plans for the heritage, in Uzgen, the southern part of Kyrgyz. First, we gave lectures on techniques to prepare distribution maps of ruins by using a GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver and GIS (Geographical Information System) software, topographical survey for archeological sites with aerial photographs taken by a small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and 3D modeling software, and high-resolution 3D modeling of architectural heritage, which were followed by a field survey. Then, we simulated the preparation of management plans for cultural properties as group work.
 Participation of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in this project ended this year. The GNSS receiver, small UAV and other equipment used for this workshop have been provided for Kyrgyz by UNESCO. We expect that documentation of the cultural assets using these latest devices will be promoted further in Kyrgyz.


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

Training for drawing of pottery unearthed from Ak-Beshim

 Since 2011, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been collaborating with efforts to protect cultural heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and the countries of Central Asia, based on the framework of the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Previously, workshops to develop human resources have been held in the field of protection of cultural heritage, such as documentation, excavation, conservation, and site management.
 This year is the final year of this project, and in July inspection tours and workshops were conducted on site management and museum exhibition in Japan. Later in the year, over the six days from October 27 to November 1, the 8th workshop “Training Workshop on Exhibition and Publication of the Excavation Report” was held in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic. Twelve trainees from Kyrgyz participated in this workshop.
 At present, museums in Kyrgyz still lack adequate facilities and human resources. Therefore, this workshop featured lectures on exhibition techniques at museums, management of lighting, temperature and humidity, and exhibition hall management techniques. After that, there were lectures and training on techniques for preparing site reports, including topics such as drawing of archaeological finds and descriptions of their attributes. In addition, due to the diversification of archaeological investitgation techniques in recent years, today’s reports contain various types of natural science approaches. Therefore, lectures were given and training carried out regarding analytical techniques for animal and plant remains sampled from Ak-Beshim, where excavation training was conducted in 2012 and 2013.
 This will be the final workshop held under the current framework. However, considering the current situation in Kyrgyz and Central Asian countries regarding museums, conservation facilities, and site management, there remains a need for international support in all areas of cultural heritage protection. Going forward, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to continue its efforts in various international cooperation projects for culture heritage, with the aim of protecting cultural heritage in Central Asia.


Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads (a UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust project): Personnel training in the Republic of Tajikistan

Professor Shigeyuki OKAZAKI (Mukogawa Women’s University) explaining a model of the new proposed museum

 To help safeguard the Bamiyan site in Afghanistan, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties actively initiated a project to preserve the site starting in 2003. This project was instituted in conjunction with UNESCO and research institutes at home and abroad. Local Afghani experts and experts from different countries gather, and meetings have been conducted annually to present the results of the preservation project that year and to discuss policies for the years to come. In 2013, a meeting co-organized by UNESCO and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research took place on December 10-11th in the City of Orvieto, Italy.
 The meeting was attended by experts from Afghanistan, Italy, Germany, France, and Belgium as well as experts from international bodies like UNESCO, ICOMOS, UNOPS, and the World Bank. The meeting was also attended by Japanese experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Wako University, the University of Tsukuba, and Mukogawa Women’s University. Discussion centered on the current state of ongoing preservation of the Bamiyan mural paintings and fragments of the giant Buddha statues. In 2013, a German team installed “Feet”-like structures to ensure the safety of visitors of the Eastern Buddha statue. Experts from different countries presented various views as to the potential to use this structure to help rebuild the giant Buddha statue. Other topics that were discussed in detail were an envisioned museum/cultural center (Japan began actively submitting plans last year), the current status of preservation efforts that started in 2013 at sites around Bamiyan (such as Shahr-e Zohak and Shahr-e Gholghola), problems harmonizing economic development and protection of cultural heritage, and the current state of safeguarding of other cultural heritage sites in Afghanistan (such as the minarets in Herat).


Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads (a UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust project): Personnel training in the Republic of Tajikistan

Practice surveying a cultural heritage site (the Hulbuk site)
Documentation practice using CAD

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has been commissioned by UNESCO to provide support for nomination of World Heritage sites in Central Asia along the Silk Road. Since 2012, JCICC has conducted a series of training workshops on documentation of cultural heritage in Central Asia and the Republic of Tajikistan.
 Following a workshop in 2012, a second training workshop was conducted jointly with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan. The workshop took place from November 7 to 14, 2013. Training during the workshop took place on-site at the Hulbuk site, a medieval fortified town nominated as a World Heritage site. On-site training was conducted by experts from Japan, and training consisted of surveys using equipment (total stations), documentation using CAD, analyses using GPS and GIS.
 Trainees participating in the second workshop were 9 young Tajik experts. Of these experts, 2 were from the National Museum of Antiquities, 2 were from the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, 1 was from Historical and Cultural Reserve “Hissar”, 3 were from the Hulbuk Museum, and 1 was from the Kulob Museum. Through intensive lectures and practice over a period of about a week, participants planned and implemented surveys to document sites and they learned specialized processes used to analyze the survey results. Participants also learned how to use survey equipment and GPS devices that had been donated for use in the project. This experience and the equipment that was provided will help participants who completed the training to study, safeguard, and document cultural properties in their country. JCICC plans to conduct various training workshops to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the future as well.


‘Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site’ project: The 11th mission

Buddhist cave discovered in the Foladi Valley

 Since 2003, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has conducted the ‘Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site’ project in close cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Culture, Afghanistan and Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan. Our mission was on hold for three years after 2010 due to security issues in Afghanistan, but a short-term 11th mission was finally dispatched from September 28th to October 6th of this year.
 This mission sought to compensate for the 3-year hiatus by confirming the current state of cultural heritage and landscape in the region. This work involved five activities. First, the state of the Buddhist caves and mural paintings was surveyed. Second, environmental data from the past few years, including meteorological data from the Bamiyan Valley and temperature and humidity data from the caves, were collected. Third, general surveys of archaeological sites in the Bamiyan and Foladi Valleys were conducted. A survey of the Foladi Valley revealed a new Buddhist cave that might date to the latter half of the 6th century AD. Fourth, basic information on the landscape at a planned museum construction site was collected. The site is to be the home of a new Bamiyan museum constructed with the help of Mukogawa Women’s University, Japan. Fifth and finally, lectures on the history and culture of the Bamiyan site and previous conservation activities at the site were conducted for students of Bamiyan University, attracting a considerable number of attendees.
 The one-week mission yielded limited results, but the fundamental data obtained will serve as the basis for a research plan for the next mission. In addition, the considerable interest of students in the Bamiyan site promises the appearance of a new generation of ‘guardians’ of cultural heritage in Afghanistan.


Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination in Central Asia: specialist training workshop in the Republic of Tajikistan

Surveying at Hulbuk

 As part of the UNESCO-/Japan Funds-in Trust project titled as “Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination in Central Asia”, a specialist training workshop on archeological site documentation was conducted in Tajikistan from November 2nd to the 7th by Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tajikistan and Historic-Cultural Reserve “Hulbuk”, Tajikistan. Within the framework, a series of specialist training workshops have thus far been conducted in other Central Asian countries, such as Kyrgyz and Kazakhstan. The workshop in Tajikistan focused on practical training of site documentation at the ruins of the medieval city of Hulbuk (9th-12th century AD), which is currently on the tentative lists of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In particular, on-site practical training of topographic survey and establishment of excavation grids as well as basic lectures on surveying were conducted, using total station that was supplied to the Tajik side from UNESCO. The six days short-term workshop was not always sufficient to obtain a mastery of the various survey skills, but attended ten Tajik participants made a serious effort to acquire the skills, using their own equipment. Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will continue this supporting project for young Tajik experts in the next 2013 season.


Project to Support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Road: Training Workshops in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic

Geophysical survey training
On-site training using a Total Station

 Currently, five Central Asian countries and China are undertaking various activities to facilitate the serial nomination of historical sites along the Silk Road for inscription on the World Heritage List in 2014. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) participates in the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Road. As part of the project, JCICC is undertaking various activities in Central Asian Countries. This year two training workshops were held in Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
 In Kazakhstan, a second training workshop on geophysical surveys was held from September 19 to 24. The workshop was co-organized with Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Kazakhstan Archeological Expertise Scientific Research Organization. A total of 12 trainees, including eight Kazakhs, 2 Kyrgyzs, one Tajik, and one Uzbek, participated in the training workshop. The training workshop was held at the Boraldai burial mounds. After last year’s workshop, Kazakhstan purchased geophysical survey equipment and Kazakh specialists actively included geophysical surveys in their archaeological research. Hopes are that this workshop will motivate other Central Asian countries to conduct geophysical surveys in their own countries.
 In the Kyrgyz Republic, a training workshop on archaeological documentation was held from September 19 to 25. The workshop was organized jointly with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic. A total of eight young Kyrgyz archaeologists participated in the workshop. After three days of lectures on archaeological documentation at the National Academy of Sciences, trainees studied topographic mapping using Total Station, leveling, and photogrammetry at the site in Ak Beshim. The trainees gained a better understanding of archaeological documentation through the workshop.
 The Japan Center for Cooperation in Conservation will continue to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Road next year as well.


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