Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Preserving ancient rock quarries for future generations

Many of the cultural treasures of the Eastern Mediterranean are made of stone that came from local rock quarries. Improving preservation of these sites will allow a better view into the lives of common labourers rather than that of their king or queen.
Preserving ancient rock quarries for future generations
The rich cultural heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Yet behind the scenes of well-known monuments lies another world, largely ignored up until now. It is that of the rock quarries that supplied the raw materials for many of the wonders of the ancient world.

European funding has been set aside to investigate these rock quarries and the communities that sprang up around them. Eleven case studies were initiated in the context of the 'Conservation of Ancient Stone Quarry Landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean' (Quarryscapes) project in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.

The Quarryscapes team addressed the lack of systematic monitoring of such sites by developing standards for identifying, characterising and documenting ancient quarries. Analysis of modern threats to these sites, such as renewed rock excavation, led to the formation of several recommendations for preserving ancient quarries for future generations.

The results of this unique research were shared with the academic community through a number of scientific publications, which have also been gathered into a single volume. Workshops and an informative website have also helped raise awareness within the general public. Moving forward, there is renewed hope that this valuable cultural legacy, which is no less important than the monuments it spawned, will not be buried.

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