Carving a pattern into wood to be used as part of a minbar ©

Richard Wilding

Several projects have taken place in Egypt as well as four 10-month projects that are currently taking place until 2021. Read more below to learn about the projects, which include amongst others the restoration and revival of two mosques, the documentation of Mamluk minbars in Cairo and the delivery of training in conservation and documentation techniques.

Find out more about the projects:

Circulating Artefacts: a cross-platform alliance against the looting of pharaonic antiquities

£998,769 awarded to the British Museum to create a new database of Egyptian and Nubian artefacts currently in circulation on the international art market, and those held in private collections, to counteract looting and illegal trafficking. This project is delivered in partnership with The Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt; The National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM); and The Art & Antiques Unit of the Metropolitan Police Service (New Scotland Yard).

The Circulating Artefacts (CircArt) online platform launched in March 2018 currently focuses on antiquities from Egypt and Sudan.Thus far, the project has documented and researched nearly 47,000 objects in circulation on the market, producing strong evidence to suggest that more than 10% were excavated illegally. The project has enabled the recovery of artefacts looted from dozens of sites across Egypt and Sudan. 

10-month project for 2020-21 
Following the Impact round of funding, an additional £689,282 has been awarded to expand the project's outreach and skills sharing. It also allows the existing CircArt platform to extend its research to the sale of illicit artefacts on social media.£689,282 has been awarded to expand the project’s training and skills sharing, whilst also looking to enhance the existing CircArt database.

Conserving Egyptian Coptic Culture

£555,759 awarded to The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex to create an archive of contemporary Coptic intangible cultural heritage whilst building local communities' capacity for long term heritage preservation. This project is delivered in partnership with Coptic Culture Centre (CCC), Coptic Association for Social Care in Minya (CASC), and University of Sussex (Digital / Sussex Humanities Lab).

The project is creating a narrative and visual archive of Coptic intangible cultural heritage in Egypt. This includes stories, legends, social practices and oral histories from Coptic communities in Upper Egypt. The project has also been building local communities’ capacity for long term heritage preservation, by training “heritage capturers” to assist with the identification, documentation and preservation of this cultural heritage.

Preserving Egyptian Coptic Heritage through Conservation, Scholarship and Educational Dissemination

£101,382 awarded to The Levantine Foundation to conserve manuscripts within the Deir al Surian monastery in Egypt. Coptic and Arabic manuscripts will be conserved, catalogued and photographed. This project is delivered in partnership with the Deir al Surian monastery.

To date, the project has provided training in conservation methods, manuscript handling, record keeping and collection care. Un-documented Coptic and Arabic manuscripts in the collection have been catalogued and 22 important and vulnerable ancient Syriac manuscripts have been conserved.

10-month project for 2020-21

Following the Impact round of funding, the Levantine Foundation has been awarded £176,334 to increase the impact of previous activities by restoring more Coptic manuscripts owned by the Deir al Surian and expanding training to a new partner, the Coptic Museum.

Rescuing the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo

£327,302 awarded to the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF) to focus on the research, documentation and conservation of Mamluk minbars in Historic Cairo. This project is delivered in partnership with Historic Cairo Project (HCP), School of Islamic and Geometric design (SIGD), and Egyptian European Organization for Training and Development (EEOTD).

To date, the organisation has captured detailed photographic documentation of a total of 27 minbars and fully surveyed and documented 11 minbars.

10-month project for 2020-21

£237,775 has been awarded to EHRF in order to expand on its original activities through further documentation and protection of the Mamluk minbars of Cairo. This will include expanding upon their conservation work in Mamluk art and architecture, creating an archival bank of traditional woodwork and setting up a design hub in Bayt al-Razzaz to test creation and production methods, and develop business skills and digital marketing.

Revival of the Mosque of Moqbil

£79,520 awarded to Environmental Quality International (EQI) to support the restoration of a traditional rock-salt mosque in the old fortified city of Shali, Egypt.

The mosque has now been successfully restored and over 100 locals have been trained in the art of kershef building.

Restoration of the Aghormi mosque by the residents of Siwa

£120,297 awarded to Environmental Quality International (EQI) to train local community residents to restore the Kershef Mosque in Aghormi, Egypt. These works will safeguard against further deterioration and return the mosque to public use. This project is delivered in partnership with the Life Science Network. The mosque has now been successfully restored and over 100 locals have been trained in the art of kershef building.

The mosque has now been successfully restored and over 100 locals have been trained in the art of kershef building.

Training in Endangered Archaeology Methodology

£2,161,054 awarded to a consortium of three UK higher education institutions (University of Oxford, University of Leicester, and University of Durham) with the University of Oxford acting as the lead applicant, to train archaeologists from eight countries in the use of an open-source aerial recording methodology, designed for conflict zones and other areas where access to the ground is restricted. This project is delivered in partnership with the Department of Antiquities, Jordan; Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Palestine; General Organisation of Antiquities and Museums, Yemen; Department of Antiquities, Libya; Directorate General of Antiquities, Lebanon; Institut National du Patrimoine, Tunisia; State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Iraq; Ministry of State of Antiquities, Egypt; and Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt.

To date, 170 archaeologists have been trained in the use of an open-source recording methodology designed for conflict zones and areas with restricted ground access. Additionally, the project has contributed to enhancing records by supporting the creation of national databases.

10-month project for 2020-21

£749,790 has been awarded following the Impact round in order to capitalise on previous work. This involves extending the use of the database, better management of archaeological sites and by training professionals in local countries on new techniques in heritage management.