The International Course on the Conservation of Earthen Architecture is a one-month training initiative held in the World Heritage city of Al Ain, UAE, organized by the Getty Conservation Institute in partnership with Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. The course aims to improve the practice of earthen heritage conservation by providing practical training for mid-career professionals from the Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian regions.
In many regions of the world, including in the Arabian Peninsula, earth has been used as a construction material for millennia. In the World Heritage Site of Al Ain, for example, there are numerous earthen archaeological sites dating from the Bronze and Iron ages (ca. 3000-1000 BCE), as well as late Islamic period houses, forts and mosques constructed in earth. While these significant sites are being protected and preserved, earthen structures around the world are rapidly disappearing due to abandonment, demolition, and replacement with modern materials.
Though the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia hold much of the world’s earthen architecture, there are few targeted training opportunities for professionals working in the region on the conservation of earthen heritage.
Al Ain was chosen as the location for the course because of its central location in the region, rich earthen heritage and the variety of conservation approaches and examples implemented by DCT Abu Dhabi over the last decade.
The course inscribes itself within the GCI’s long term Earthen Architecture Initiative.
EAC 18 & 22
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and the Getty Conservation Institute organized two international courses on Earthen Architecture Conservation in 2018 and 2022, which took place in Al Ain, UAE and in Oman.
Each course was attended by 20 heritage professionals from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The course covered practical methods and theoretical foundations for the conservation of earthen historic buildings and archaeological sites including conservation theory, material analysis, documentation and diagnosis, as well as preventive conservation, structural interventions and rehabilitation. The course is taught by a team of eighteen experts from various disciplines, all recognized in the field of earthen architecture conservation.
Building on the successful model of these two courses, the third International Course on the Earthen Architecture Conservation will take place in Al Ain, UAE and Nizwa, Oman from January 25th to February 23rd 2025.
Course topics include:
• Conservation theory and principles
• Laboratory and field analysis of earthen materials
• Earth as a building material—use and construction techniques
• Mechanisms of decay—material and structural
• Methods of recording for documentation and analysis
• Conservation methodology—Planning of conservation and rehabilitation interventions
• Practical conservation methods— structural and non-structural
• Maintenance and preventive conservation
• Developing rehabilitation and adaptive re-use projects for earthen buildings
• Climate change and disaster risk management
• A study trip to Oman where participants will carry out an exercise on the conservation of urban settlements made of earth (Nizwa, Oman)
The course is designed for a maximum of 20 participants.
The course is open to archaeologists, architects, conservator-restorers, conservation scientists, engineers and other professionals working with earthen heritage from the Middle Eastern, North African and south Asian regions.
The course will be conducted in English. Candidates must have a thorough technical knowledge and command of English. A certificate of language proficiency is required.
A course certificate will be awarded to participants who complete the course and have attended all course activities.
Course fee: $750
A limited number of scholarships will be available to select candidates who are unable to secure funding.
Applications are open now for EAC 25. The deadline for submission is 15 April 2024.
To apply and for more information, please click here.