ECHO Schools and Training Unit
As part of ECHO's dedication to education a series of schools have been designed and further facilities are in the process of being established to fulfil this aim.
The first in a series of ECHO Fieldschools is planned for summer of 2011. This new initiative in the Wadi Tumilat and at Kafr Hassan Dawood
(KHD) comes out of previous investigations in the region and also the SCA directive
for more work to be conducted in the Delta.
The need for fieldschools, particularly those focusing on bioarchaeology was apparent to Prof. Fekri A. Hassan (one of ECHO's founders and Honorary President) in 1995 when he first visited the site of Kafr Hassan Dawood.
From 1995 until 1999 the site played host to Egypt's first Field Archaeology & Conservation Research & Training Centre, where Egyptian and archaeologists from abroad were trained in modern field excavation and conservation methods and theory.
In 1998-9 the site hosted the UNESCO Fieldschool on the excavation of human remains.
In 2000 an international workshop (co-sponsored by Prof. Hassan and ECHO's trustee Dr. Terri Tucker) was held in Qantara to discuss the various issues surrounding the excavation, conservation and curation of human remains in Egypt. A manual focusing on the particular problems of excavating in Egypt was highlighted as one of the most valuable tools needed, as was the holding of more fieldschools.
A manual has since been produced (by one of ECHO's founders and Managing Director): Tassie, G. J. & Owens, L. S. 2010. Standards of Archaeological Excavation; A Fieldguide to the Methodology, Recording Techniques, and Conventions. London: Golden House Publications, and a small brochure in Arabic by Prof. Simon Hillson on the excavation of human remains.
The success of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project Fieldschools, building on the original UNESCO fieldschools held at KHD
has demonstrated not only the viability but worth of holding fieldschools in Egypt. This current project has been
initiated at the request of several people who would like to attend not only a bioarchaeology fieldschool, but one
dedicated to the Predynastic and state formation processes.
However, the field teamís first obligation is to the archaeological remains, and as in other parts of Egypt, KHD and other sites in the Wadi Tumilat are under threat from modern pressures.
Agricultural land is encroaching on KHD causing the groundwater to rise; this process has accelerated over recent years. The eastern part of the site is particularly at risk making it imperative that the research is conducted soon.
This course, taught by many Trustees and members of ECHO provide an introduction to the methods of excavating burials, from planning an excavation to storage and keeping an archival record. The excavation strategy is presented in terms of the recovery of all archaeological remains and the precise recording of their contextual and spatial associations. The emphasis is on gaining practical knowledge of the most up-to-date procedures; in an integrated approach to excavation where conservation is an essential element of the excavation process.
The course will also cover the theoretical aspects of state formation and Lower Egyptian prehistory, as well as the social significance of burials, Site visits to early sites identified by earlier surveys are essential to record their current state of preservation and potential for further investigation.
ECHO is also in the process of establishing a cultural heritage management fieldschool in Luxor using the vernacular
Unlike the fieldschools at KHD this course will provide an introduction to the methods of site management, from the planning process and stakeholder participation through the legal framework to keeping an archival record. The emphasis is on gaining both practical and theoretical knowledge of the procedures involved in cultural heritage management.
The subjects covered include regional surveying, keeping of accurate records, creating sites and monuments records, preservation of sites, presentation of cultural heritage, assessing visitor flows and prevention of looting.
The course will also cover the ethical, legal and theoretical aspects of cultural heritage management (CHM).
The course is designed to provide the most important, current information on the subject.
The course consists of lectures and fieldtrips to museums, visitor centres and archaeological sites.
All students are taught the fundamentals of archaeology at fieldschools held in the UK or at other sites in Europe before participating in the advanced fieldschools in the Near East and Africa.