Projects offer an opportunity for our volunteers to gain valuable experience in heritage environments across Europe, as well as embed themselves in a local culture for a time. These posts below are a recording of their adventures, from meeting colleagues to tasting the local delicacies.
It was hard to believe but we were at the end of our time in Shaulder. We were so busy living for the day and enjoying ourselves that the end came creeping up behind us to drag us back to reality.
Today is the last day of training at the museum in Shaulder. It has been two productive weeks, during which we have learned much from each others. The first week focused on training the participants on the basics of conservation of ceramic and glass, metals and wood
Today was the day that we all get to go visit Shymkent and the regional museum we have all been looking forward to visiting. We had a long night the night before so we were all tired and maybe not feeling as well as we could have but we were ready and willing to go early on Saturday morning.
The UCL Qatar Archaeology students have been very busy digging at Kuyk Mardan and recording sites around Otrar Oasis for the entire duration of our stay. As if that wasn’t enough, some of them had essays to submit at the end of the month. Today, however, they have been granted a day off from site to join me and Ciarán at the dig house to learn about processing archaeological finds and first aid conservation techniques.
The next day was our first day of teaching at the museum. It was 3:15 when we decided to go look for our participants at the museum, since they had not turned up yet, and we started fearing that we had made a bad impression on them and they had stood us up. We were very revealed to learn that they hadn’t fled, but we just had a bad translation misunderstanding and they were in fact waiting for us in the museum’s ceramic lab which is where we had agreed, this time without any mistranslations, we would be doing the training for its duration.
After spending the first day on excavation with the archaeologists to visit the site and get a sense of the challenges presented by both excavating and conserving mud-brick structures, me and Ciarán went back to covering our conservators’ role. From now on we will be providing first aid conservation for all the objects uncovered on site, an amazing privilege for us.
We all woke up on the Saturday morning tired with heavy limbs after all the dancing and wedding crashing that took place the night before .. We were not going to complain and we eagerly waited the bus for our first weekend trip into the heritage heartland of Southern Kazakhstan.
Today is our first day of excavation. At 5 am we had already been fed by Yamila and at 5.30 we were already on board of the mini-van on our way to site. When we arrived it was still dark but, as the sun rose, the silhouette of the mud brick architectural structure of the old settlement emerged and revealed itself in all its glory.