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Ancient Materials Training School (Nicosia, Cyprus, 13 – 18 May 2018)

par Bénédicte Charbonnel - publié le

The Ancient Materials Training School, funded by the European project OPEN SESAME (Horizon 2020, GA n°730943) was held from 13 to 18 May 2018 on the premises of The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia. The School aimed at presenting all the steps of the study of ancient materials with advanced photonic techniques, including synchrotron, from sample preparation to data treatment.

Twenty-one participants selected in the framework of the OPEN SESAME project and one participant funded by the Groupe interacadémique pour le Développement (GID) attended the School. The participants, eleven women and eleven men with diverse academic and professional background, were selected under the supervision of an independent Scientific Committee. There were coming from Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey. Several students from The Cyprus Institute were also invited. The diversity of their curriculum reflects the interdisciplinary environment of research on ancient materials. Curators, restorers, archaeologists and chemical physicists benefited from training giving them access to a basic level knowledge of synchrotron techniques for the study of ancient materials. Courses and practical trainings were supervised by nine scientists from institution based in France (IPANEMA, ESRF), in Jordan (SESAME), in Cyprus (The Cyprus Institute) and in the USA (Stanford and Notre-Dame).

The format of the School aimed at fostering interactions between participants and at emphasising the importance of interdisciplinarity to elaborate synchrotron projects dealing with ancient materials. Additionally, the School offered several courses on specific techniques. A workshop, run over the five days, gave attendees the opportunity to work in subgroups (4 people), with the objective to present their synchrotron project (study of Cypriot archaeological objects in picrolite, characterisation of Copt frescoes, technological study of copper alloys, etc…) to their peers at the end of the week. Besides, two visits, one at Idalion, led by the archaeologist in charge of the excavations of the site, and the other on at the Cyprus Museum, led by one of its curators, extended the exchanges between the participants of the School and officials in charge of local collections.

The participants gained more insight on what these synchrotron approaches can bring and on which analytical needs they require. Beyond training objectives, this School allowed fruitful interaction with colleagues from Middle East institutions and a better comprehension of their research projects ans their expectations.

The School was open by the Director of The Cyprus Institute, the Ambassador of France to Cyprus and François Guinot, the President of the GID. On the third day, the participants attended a conference given by Loïc Bertrand and Uwe Bergmann, on the occasion of the UNESCO celebration of the International Day of Light.


Mathieu Thoury (IPANEMA), Loïc Bertrand (IPANEMA), Kirsi O. Lorentz (Cyprus Institute)

Organising Committee

Sophie David, Regina Oprandi Legorre (IPANEMA), Kirsi Lorentz, Charalambos Chrysostomou (Cyprus Institute)

Scientific Committee

Gihan Kamel (SESAME, Amman, Jordan), Jean-Paul Itié (Synchrotron SOLEIL, Saint Aubin, France), Claire Pacheco (C2RMF, Paris, France), Anita Quiles (IFAO, Cairo, Egypt), Gulsu Simsek (Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey), Abderrahmane Tadjeddine (LCP, Orsay, France).