Mosaic pavements constitute a shared inheritance from the Roman and Byzantine world throughout the Mediterranean region. Due to the vast number of mosaics presently at risk, there is an urgency to determine common problems, to promote the exchange of information, and to coordinate efforts in exploring means of better conserving these important historic documents and artistic creations of the past. Working toward these goals, the objective of the Mosaics in Situ project is to enhance the capacity of national authorities and individuals to conserve mosaics in the Mediterranean region through:
- contributing to a better understanding of the causes of deterioration of in situ mosaics and the development of methods and approaches to their maintenance and conservation;
- improving the skills of professionals and technicians in the areas of maintenance, conservation, and management planning for mosaics;
- disseminating widely the results of the project
The Mosaics in Situ project addresses a number of topics related to the conservation and management of ancient mosaic pavements in situ. Aimed principally at the Mediterranean region, the project began in 1998, building upon and furthering the goals of previous GCI activities in this area—specifically the 1990 and 1993 international courses on conservation and management held in Paphos, Cyprus; a 1995 conference on the conservation of archaeological sites in the Mediterranean;
a 2000 workshop on management planning for archaeological sites, held in Corinth, Greece; and co-sponsorship of the 1996 conference of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM), held in Nicosia, Cyprus.
The project is currently built on partnerships with three national authorities in three countries. The research program involves collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and English Heritage (EH). On-going training in Tunisia is a collaboration with the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP).
In recent years the fundamental goal of preserving ancient mosaics has manifested itself through shared objectives and complementary efforts with other GCI departments and other Getty entities. From 2007-2009, the GCI’s Education Department undertook capacity building in site management for mosaic sites in Tunisia and in 2006 the J. Paul Getty Museum mounted an exhibition at the Getty Villa on the mosaics of Tunisia. The catalogue from the exhibition, Stories in Stone, as well as the publication of Tunisian Mosaics, Treasures from Roman Africa in the GCI’s Cultural Heritage series have highlighted the importance of these masterpieces of the ancient world. In 2008 the GCI and the Getty Foundation, in collaboration with ICCROM and ICCM, launched a major initiative,MOSAIKON, to enhance capacity in the conservation and management of mosaics in the Mediterranean region.