Merv Press Release

Heritage Without Borders Press Release
Monday 11th July, 2011
Heritage Without Borders’ first project in Turkmenistan includes conservators from Colchester, York and London
Stefanie White, a conservator at Colchester and Ipswich Museums will be one of three volunteer conservators working on site at the Ancient City of Merv in Turkmenistan from 27 August to 17 September.  Margrethe Felter, a conservator at The York Archaeological Trust (YAT), will be leading the team.  The third team member is Kelly Caldwell who works at the British Museum.  The project is co-ordinated by a new social enterprise called Heritage Without Borders (HWB –  It is HWB’s first international collaboration.
HWB is a unique social enterprise which builds heritage skills in developing countries, by matching museum and conservation professionals with people in the developing world who want help to preserve and interpret their cultural heritage.  Through HWB host communities are able to tap into valuable skills that would otherwise be too difficult – or too expensive – to obtain, while volunteers will gain life and professional skills which improve their future employment opportunities.
The Merv project will help train 4 recent local history graduates and others from the local community in preventative conservation and in basic remedial work at the archaeological site.  HWB has also been asked to visit the national and regional museums to assess and prepare treatment plans for key priority items. These include a massive clay Buddha head which was excavated at Merv in the 1960s, material from other sites in Turkmenistan, such as Neolithic wall paintings, that have lain in storage for over 50 years, and finds from some high prestige Bronze Age burials – including complete wheel rims from carriages buried with slaughtered camels.
In collaboration with HWB, Felter has secured project funding worth £1,250.00 from Global Heritage Fund (GHF –  GHF is an American non-profit organisation which supports projects in developing countries and regions focusing on the preservation and responsible development of the most important and endangered global heritage sites.  The other funding for the trip is being provided by Heritage Without Borders and University College London’s Ancient Merv Project (
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