A multimedia exhibition on 20 years of archaeological research by the University of Siena in Morocco has opened in Rabat. It shows the methods used, training activities and workshops, and includes studies on how to preserve and enhance local archaeological heritage.
The exhibition, called 'MedIT 98-18' at the Bab Rouah Gallery, has been organised by the Italian Embassy in Morocco in conjunction with the Institute of Culture and the local institutions. It highlights the important work done in the main archaeological sites with Italy's contribution that have helped to reconstruct the history of Morocco. The first site studied was Thamusida, where cutting edge documentation, diagnostics and survey techniques were used. Geophysical investigations were carried out and three-dimensional reconstructions were made of structures. Thamusida was built in the age of Maura, became a Roman military settlement in the first century AD and was occupied until the Islamic age.
Archaeological investigations were also carried out in Lixus, in north Morocco, that was occupied by settlers from the East as early as the first millennium BC and was inhabited until the Islamic era. The "Project for the preservation and enhancement of Morocco's archaeological heritage" is underway. It is funded by a two million euro loan over three years, and is part of the agreement on the conversion of Morocco's debt with Italy, which was signed in 2013. The project is a scientific, technical and cultural partnership agreement between the Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Moroccan Ministry of Culture and the University of Siena. A number of important monuments and sites including the Chersah Medersa, the governor's palace in Volubilis and the ancient Roman and Roman site of Zilil in northern Morocco have been restored and enhanced under this agreement. It includes cutting-edge technologies such as three-dimensional drone photogrammetry, 3D reconstructions and geophysical surveys of the whole site and identification of the boundaries of the ancient Roman city in preparation for next year's excavations. The exhibition will run until November 28.
The Ambassador of Italy to Morocco, Barbara Bregato, said: "The intense training programme for Moroccan archaeologists, restorers, museum directors, curators and superintendents, carried out by the Italian side, has been important for the conservation, enhancement and setting up of tourist routes and an interpretation centre in four major archaeological sites in Morocco. These are Volubilis, near Meknes, Chellah, in the city of Rabat, Lixus, near Larache and Zilil and in Tangier-Asilah region. A modern archaeological restoration laboratory was also installed in Volubilis, the first in Morocco, equipped with state-of-the-art Italian machinery.''