Since 2005, at the request of then Controller Abdul Kader el Muzeine of the Department of Antiquities in Shahat (Cyrene), the American Mission began, in addition to its archaeological work, a series of capacity building and infrastructure improvement projects to address issues confronting the Department of Antiquities. Much of this work was supported by a series of Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation grants from the U.S. State Department: 2005: "Cultural Heritage Records Management System at Cyrene"; 2010: "Documentation and Training in the Management of Archaeological Collections at the Ancient Greek Site of Cyrene"; 2011: "Archaeological Site Documentation and Assessment in the Cyrenaica"; and 2012: "Tripolitania Archaeological Site Documentation and Assessment."
The aim of the American Mission's work is to assist the Department of Antiquities in Shahat to modernize its records and management systems and to develop an integrated sites and museums database for use in a modern cultural heritage management system. A small laboratory was established with networked computers and peripherals, cameras, GPS units, and other equipment; an assessment was made of the skill levels of current staff; key staff were trained in computer basics (two were brought to the United States in 2010 for more extensive training); two years of English language lessons were provided for interested staff; and several key collaborative projects initiated—in particular the development of a bilingual (Arabic-English) database of archaeological sites and museum objects; a program to scan photographs from the site's extensive photo archives; the inventory and conservation assessment of objects in the Cyrene Museum and its storerooms in collaboration with conservators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and training courses in the Cyrenaica and Tripolitania (taught by an Arabic speaking cultural heritage professional) focused on teaching current Department of Antiquities staff modern international standards for site survey, monitoring practices, and cultural heritage management.
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