Working on an archaeological site

Since 2011Heritage Without Borders has been a partner with The Ancient Merv ProjectTo date, this partnership has given professional conservators from the UK the opportunity to work in Turkmenistan on the UNESCO World Heritage site at Merv.  It has also meant that several heritage professionals already working in Turkmenistan gained unique practical experience on site working alongside our volunteers.        

The project aims are to: 

  • Conserve small finds from past years’ excavations at Merv 

  • Train local graduates and museum staff in basic conservation skills 

  • Assess future conservation needs in Turkmenistan’s museums 

  • Pilot the HWB model, testing methodology and practicalities 

In a very successful first year of involvement, the HWB volunteers contributed to the stability and investigation of 50% of the 1300 small finds on site. They also opened a mutually beneficial dialogue with the local conservators and students in providing training. 

In the spring of 2013, Margrethe FelterCiarán Lavelle and Francesca Guiducci – three HWB conservators – travelled to Turkmenistan with Ancient Merv Project team and undertook further training and conservation activities on the ground. Through its volunteers and through collaborations with Ancient Merv Project, HWB had established very good links with the Ancient Merv Archaeological Park and with the Institute of History of Turkmenistan. HWB also works with the local museums. HWB is currently working with the project to develop a long-term, 5-10 year strategy for development in the region. 

 You can read more about The Ancient Merv Research Project on the UCL Institute of Archaeology website: and on the UNESCO website: