Factum Foundation
New Projects

2016 has seen an explosion in Factum Foundation projects around the world; in places such as Chad, Italy, Egypt, the US, Daghestan, Spain, Lebanon, Jordan, Scotland to name a few. What has become totally clear is that high-resolution documentation of cultural heritage must be done in times of peace, before war and political instability render access to the sites all but impossible.

The Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative
, currently underway in Egypt, is the Foundation’s longest running and most ambitious project in the field of cultural conservation. At its core is the transfer of skills and technologies to a local workforce, ensuring that the documentation and preservation of cultural heritage benefits the local community. This approach is elegantly efficient and demonstrates what can be achieved with very limited funding.
A similar approach has been developed in Daghestan, in the Russian Federation, with the Peri Foundation where we are working in the State Archives and in the mosque at Kala-Koreysh. This work has resulted in the training and equipping of local technicians who are now applying the technologies to other sites in Russia. This work will be the subject of a session at the World Cultural Forum in St Petersburg on the 2nd December.

On the 21st November The New Yorker magazine published a ten-thousand-word piece about Factum Arte and Factum Foundation. The article, written by Daniel Zalewski, the features editor who spent several days in Factum, focused on projects such as the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative in Egypt and the programmes in Daghestan, Nigeria and Chad. Read the full article here   |


TARA and Factum Foundation

For several years, Factum Foundation has been trying to raise funds to work with David Coulson and the Trust for African Rock Art. A match-funding offer to TARA from the Prince Claus Fund was met with a generous donation from Paula and Jim Crown. This made two initial projects in Nigeria and Chad possible. A trip to the Cross River State (formerly part of Biafra) to record some of the Ikom monoliths and carry out a condition survey on this World Monuments Fund endangered site, resulted in the first 3D models of these important carvings dating back 1500 years. Ferdinand Saumarez Smith’s report makes for sombre reading as fire damage, neglect and theft have all taken their toll on the monoliths. One of the 3D scans is of a broken statue which was complete in 1968. In an interesting development the top half has been identified in a major museum and a conversation has been started to draw attention to the importance of preserving these monoliths. In Chad an intense two week recording project in colour and 3D is underway in the Ennedi Plateau near the Libyan and Sudanese borders. The results will be announced soon.

Image: Render of a 3D model from a monolith at the Alok site in Cross River State, Nigeria. Captured and processed by Alexander Peck


Stoppelaere House restoration works almost complete

Factum Foundation’s first physical intervention is the complete renovation of Hassan Fathy’s mudbrick building, Stoppelaere House, at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings. The restoration has been carried out by Tarek Waly, who worked with Hassan Fathy for many years. He has provided employment for a group of highly skilled local craftsmen for the past eight months as complex underground engineering to reinforce the structure was matched by exquisite mudbrick domes, intricate wooden inlay and tiled flooring. The only foreign elements in the project are German engineered ‘dustproof‘ windows that are hidden behind reconditioned latticework. The fully restored building will house the 3D Scanning, Archiving and Training Centre that is at the heart of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative.
It is hoped that this prominent landmark will become the symbol for the collaboration between the University of Basel and Factum Foundation working with the Ministry of Antiquities. Once the most advanced imaging technologies are available on site, it is hoped that all the missions working in the area will take advantage of the facilities that are offered and that the centre will both cover its running costs and provide an income for the Ministry to carry out its vitally important work to preserve the Theban Necropolis.
The Centre will be opened by the Minister of Antiquities and the Swiss ambassador in January 2017 to mark the start of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of Seti I.

Image: The restoration work at Stoppelaere House is almost complete and the training centre will open in January 2017

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