Coral Stones Inscribed with Gujarati Script on the Island of Soqotra ©

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

From documenting the historic city of Taiz to restoring, reconstructing and renovating important cultural landmarks that have been affected by conflict, there have been four projects in relation to Yemen with two 10-month projects currently running until 2021.

Find out more about the projects:

Integrating cultural heritage in conservation in Soqotra

£484,110 awarded to The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to address the needs of cultural heritage on Soqotra, a Yemeni archipelago between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, and to conduct activities to promote the use of the endangered Soqotri language. This project was awarded a grant extension in our closing round to expand its existing community engagement work to include awareness-raising events, creative documentation workshops and a community archaeology dig.

With a new database now set up, over 400 sites have now been formally documented including major rock art sites, mosques, forts, extensive settlements and various burial sites. The project has formulated a tourism strategy for the islands and is working to raise awareness with local schools and Soqotri poetry festivals that promote the use of the endangered Soqotri language. It has also delivered a number of community awareness and training events. 

Old City of Taiz: Building capacity in post-conflict heritage assessment and emergency conservation

£100,000 awarded to World Monuments Fund Britain to train museum professionals from the Yemeni city of Taiz, equipping them with the skills necessary to document the city's damaged cultural heritage. This project is delivered in partnership with University of Dohuk, Historic England, and Donald Insall Associates.

So far the project has delivered training in conservation assessment to 15 Yemeni participants, created a database on the state of heritage in Old Taiz, implemented a detailed assessment of the condition of the National Museum in Taiz, and delivered a series of priority restoration measures on the fabric of the museum, to include reconstruction of facades and windows.

10-month project for 2020-21

Following the Impact round of funding, World Monuments Fund have been awarded an additional £116,900. The new project aims to restore the inner halls and rooms of the National Museum (including plasterwork, interior painting, wood and brickwork) as well as training antiquities and museum professionals on the restoration and documentation techniques used.

Postwar Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Yemen

£220,220 awarded to the Prince Claus Fund to restore, reconstruct and renovate important cultural landmarks and sites that have been affected by the conflict in Yemen.

The grant enabled the Prince Claus Fund and their local partner the Daw‘an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation to protect and restore cultural heritage throughout Hadhramaut by reinforcing structures and arresting any imminent danger threatening collapse. 

In this article, we spoke with Prince Claus Fund’s Ilaria Manzini to find out more about the project.

10-month project for 2020-21

£225,000 has been awarded following the Impact round to survey, document, and rehabilitate four more important cultural landmarks: the Dome of Al-Habib Ahmed Mohsin al-Haddar, the Dome of al Saqqaf, the Shaykhan (Qubbat Shaykhan) and the Headquarters of the British Governor. The project will also train more builders and local craftsmen in the techniques of restoration of mud-brick architecture and hold community outreach activities. 

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

An additional £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.