Conservation Field Campaigns

The Foundation runs two conservation campaigns a year, in April-May and November-December, in which a team of conservators from a number of specialisms from different institutions spend three-four weeks at the monastery working intensely at the conservation of selected manuscripts. This represents a major expense for the Foundation and so any donations are very welcome.

Conservation Field Campaign: April – May 2019

Deir al-Surian Library, Wadi el-Natrun, Egypt

Seven ancient manuscripts dating from 6th -13th century from the Arabic, Coptic and Syriac collection underwent conservation treatment during the four week April-May campaign.

The campaign was the first out of two field campaigns planned for 2019 as part of the project whose aim is to preserve the Egyptian cultural heritage funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The conservation work has been led by Elizabeth Sobczynski and Francois Vinourd with the support of three conservators from Rome specialising in Medieval manuscripts. The conservation included detail digital documentation before, during and after treatment, recording historical evidence and creating long term protection to  manuscripts where covers were missing by encasing them in removable bindings/casing* which when lifted offers easy access to the ancient structure. Bespoke comprehensive database created to record the holdings, physical condition and conservation treatment of the collection has been installed in the library. Elizabeth Sobczynski who designed the database instructed Fr. Amoon, the librarian as to its use encouraging him to fill in the data.

One of the most important objectives of the Foundation programmes is to raise awareness about preservation and conservation among custodians of cultural heritage and to build capacity for its long term care. To that effect, two training opportunities have been organised for monks during the April-May campaign in the Deir al-Surian library. The training was delivered in partnership with the head librarian, Fr. Amoon, through four 3-hour interactive training modules which focused on the history of the library; the study of Syriac, Coptic and Byzantine bindings; collection management and the practicalities of rudimentary treatment of paper folia

 [please go to Training page for details]    


*A prototype for Removable Bindings/Casings © The Levantine Foundation 2016 has been created in Deir al-Surian Library in 2016 by Monika Stokowiec in consultation and under direction of Elizabeth Sobczynski.  



The Levantine Foundation registered in England 4506398, in The Arab Republic of Egypt under Law No 84 (2002). Registered charity number 1094436.