The American Research Center in Eygpt

Featured Conservation Projects

Featured Conservation Projects

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The American Research Center in Egypt has been actively helping to conserve Egyptian monuments since 1993. With funds generously provided by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in close collaboration with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), over fifty projects have now been completed.

The scope of ARCE conservation work covers all periods of Egyptian art and architecture at monuments and sites throughout the country from pre-historic to Islamic. ARCE’s Egyptian Antiquities Conservation Project (EAC) encompasses the latest series of projects to be implemented under an agreement with USAID begun in 2004. In 2007 additional funding specifically for conservation and training in the Luxor area was received, and work is continuing.

In the wake of the Revolution of 2011, it has become even more apparent that the future of Egypt’s monuments must rest ultimately with Egyptian archaeologists and conservators. ARCE’s conservation initiatives include a significant emphasis on training for our Egyptian colleagues. Since 1995 some seven-hundred SCA employees have participated in ARCE’s training programs. These initiatives have received enthusiastic support from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

A selection of current conservation projects is featured below.

Engineering works on archaeological sites can have devastating consequences for the preservation of standing and buried archaeological remains. To mitigate unwanted consequences developers gauge the archaeological potential of a site by conducting a desk-based assessment (DBA). The DBA provides baseline data on archaeological and heritage assets lurking above and below the ground that are likely to be affected by the proposed development.

The church of Saints Bishai and Bigol, the ‘Red Monastery,’ was the heart of a large monastic community, in a region known as an important center for ascetic life in the 5th century, A.D. It is an astonishingly rare example of the coloristic intensity of late antique monuments in Egypt. In this church, late antique paintings cover about eighty percent of the walls, niches, columns, pilasters, pediments and apses.

Director: Dr. Elizabeth Bolman, Temple University.
November 2005 - Ongoing

360 panorama view of the conserved church >>

View a 2012 video of the Red Monastery >>

A roundtable discussion in 2012 about conservation issue at the Red Monastery >>

View images of the Red Monastery in the photo gallery >>

Shortly after the bombing at the Museum of Islamic Art and the Manuscript Library and Manuscript Museum of the National Library and Archives of Egypt, a group of heritage activists rushed to the site to assess what had occurred, to form a protective line around the site to prevent looting if needed and to assist where possible in the collection and purchase of supplies required to stabilize artifacts.


Site Management and Conservation

This project was initiated in 2011 as a short-term program to employ 700+ local Egyptians to help mitigate the severe unemployment caused by a deep drop off in tourism following the January 2011 revolution. Supported by USAID, ARCE has engaged Egyptian youth, construction workers, craftsmen and conservators to clean, survey, and stabilize the Temple of Isis at Deir el Shelwit and Theban Tomb 110, train earlier field school graduates in advanced conservation techniques, record the archaeological remains of the village of Qurna, and construct walkways and a visitor center for improved visitor access in Qurna.

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