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June 14, 2012

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Updates from Ulug Depe and Paris

Posted by Posted by Olivier Lecomte, Director of the “Mission Archéologique Franco-Turkmène d’Ulug-Dépé”
World Monuments Fund
Southern side of the citadel with entrance and stairway

Beside the archaeological excavations continuing at the site, since the inclusion of Ulug Depe on the 2012 Watch, two restoration sessions have taken place at the dig-house in the nearby village of Dushak. The new up-to-date restoration laboratory was inaugurated in October 2010 by Mrs. Shelby White, a Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, which sponsored the purchase of all needed equipment as well as the renovation of the premises to conform to international standards. As a matter of fact, with the help of the Leon-Levy Foundation, ever since that date it has been our concern to train local restorers in modern methods and means in conservation of archaeological artifacts.

Three sessions were planned under the supervision of Mrs. Estelle Ottenwelter from the Laboratory of Conservation of the Czech Institute of Archaeology and they were dedicated to the restoration of different archaeological finds: the first one in spring 2011 was devoted to the treatment of pottery; the second, in spring 2012, to the treatment of metallic objects; the third one, which will take place in spring 2013, will be dedicated to the preservation of the mud-brick architectural structures discovered on-site.

At the two sessions already held, conservators from different museums and institutions in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan received training and received a diploma at the end of the course. The finds collected for the work came from different archaeological sites in Turkmenistan, the best known of which being Gonur Depe.

One also ought to mention that, on June 6 in Paris, under the dome of the Institut de France, the work of the French-Turkmen Archaeological Expedition at Ulug Depe was recognized and rewarded with the "Prix d'Archéologie 2012 de la Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca de l'Institut de France," a prestigious prize awarded every year to a French archaeological mission. The prize money will be used to pursue and support conservation of findings and architectural structures, training activities, site presentation programs, and site museum projects.