Sustainable solutions towards cultural heritage preservation in the Asyut region.

Lead Research Organisation: The British Museum
Department Name: Ancient Egypt and Sudan


The current proposal aims to implement a new approach to fieldwork in Egypt by looking at the broad spectrum of history - up until the present day - at multi-layered sites, including efforts to preserve heritage rather than only researching it. The project will undertake and develop a sustainable conservation policy for archaeological sites using the Asyut region in Middle Egypt, and the village of Shutb in particular, as a case-study. Rather than merely looking upon archaeological sites as salvage missions or narrow-eyed academic pursuits, the project supports local interests to better the lives of local communities so that they can function as working partners in preserving the site.

The envisioned methodology promotes (1) better integration of preservation and heritage management methodologies and specialists into archaeological fieldwork projects, (2) coordination and collaboration amongst different institutions and agencies concerned with heritage preservation, (3) engaging with local communities, local heritage professionals and other stakeholders through training and capacity building by hands-on experience and implementation of policies.

To achieve these goals, the British Museum will collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of Egypt-based consultants and local stakeholders to develop a set of protection measures in order to uphold Shutb's archaeological value, to prevent further decay of the historic fabric and to enhance the socio-economic (living) conditions of the inhabitants.

To this means, two seasons of fieldwork in Shutb will include a series of surveys and meetings to assess the impact and perception of the village's presence on the archaeological remains, identifying and prioritizing meaningful ways of intervention and a documentation training mission. Many of the defined threats to heritage also negatively affect people's health, such as proximity to garbage disposal and ground and water pollution. The gathered survey data will be used to define programmes to reduce and redirect garbage dumping and improve waste and water management systems of residential units to reduce ground pollution and increase personal health. Depending on the outcome of the community meetings and interviews; the project will develop solutions to the community's most pressing needs.

Such an all-inclusive approach has never been tested in Egypt, where fieldwork has traditionally been physically and intellectually separated from the surrounding environment and communities. It is, however, an opportune moment to develop more sustainable methodologies as ancient tells are at risk from the forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change.Through collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities, the impact of the established methodology can be accelerated if implemented at other sites or -even more fundamentally- incorporated into governmental strategies.

Planned Impact

Threats to Egypt's unique archaeological resources - not just pharaonic, but of all period - are not new, but intensified under recent political instability. Well-defined means and methods of mitigating the impact of those threats, policies and legislation have not been implemented in meaningful and sustainable ways that alter the conditions that brought about the increased illegal exploitation of archaeological resources nor did they impose preventative measures to restrict their looting, trafficking and destructive encroachment and vandalism. Sustainable heritage management can only be achieved by implementing preservation methodologies into archaeological fieldwork.

Through a case-study in the village of Shutb in Middle Egypt, the project aspires to develop an innovative and sustainable fieldwork strategy by integrating preservation and heritage management methodologies and specialists into archaeological fieldwork projects, promoting collaboration amongst different institutions concerned with heritage preservation, empowering participation of local communities and heritage professionals as stakeholders through training and capacity building, and providing a model that could be sustainably deployed elsewhere. By not only developing, but also testing and implementing new methods of mitigating the impact of those threats in meaningful ways, the current project pledges to alter the conditions that bring about destruction of sites and illegal exploitation of archaeological resources. In addition, it seeks to define ways to integrate adjacent communities and other stakeholders as significant contributors to sustainable preservation.

The need for such an undertaking has never been more pressing as intensification of land use by the rising population for agriculture and expanding settlements is rapidly destroying archaeological sites. In addition, the number of fieldwork projects in the region is increasing providing an opportune moment to address sustainable and meaningful efforts to preserve Egypt's heritage as part of archaeological excavations. The established methodology promotes collaboration amongst different institutions and agencies concerned with heritage preservation. It can easily be deployed and developed at other sites and could steer governmental attitudes towards fieldwork in Egypt.

Many of the defined threats to heritage also negatively affect people's health, such as proximity to garbage disposal and ground and water pollution. Any intervention will thereby also have an impact on people's lives. Depending on the outcome of the community meetings and interviews; the project will develop solutions to some of the community's most pressing needs. Certain urgent interventions, however, such as reducing and redirecting garbage disposal, will be implemented during the second fieldwork season. Through collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities, the established methodological framework will potentially affect larger communities when implemented at other sites or even incorporated into governmental strategies.


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Description Through different proposals, the project will aspires to create a model for innovative and sustainable fieldwork initiatives, promoting increased empowerment of, and participation by, the local communities. Rather than merely looking upon archaeological sites as salvage missions or academic pursuits, we will appeal to local interests, and support that through affiliation with archaeology and heritage preservation. The proposal will develop and implement a sustainable conservation policy for archaeological sites using the Asyut region in Middle Egypt, and the village of Shutb in particular, as a case-study.
The aim of the fieldwork is to build the importance of and increase appreciation for recent tangible (in our case vernacular architecture) and intangible history (we will focus on story telling) and use that to create a model for establishing an understanding of the past (ancient buildings and stories). The work includes archaeology, as the history of Shutb is poorly understand, which provides us with another way of creating a working relationship with the local community. The first two field seasons (Mar and Oct 2016), sponsored by the British Museum and the Newton Musharafa Fund, focussed on the visible remains of the ancient and modern city of Shashotep/ Shutb in Middle Egypt and building trust with the local community. In collaboration with the Cairo-based company Takween Integrated Community Development, the project started with a survey phase in order to (1) identify the most significant vernacular architecture worth documenting/preserving, their state of preservation and levels of integrity, and (2) local perceptions of this heritage and its potential and relevance for future generations. This survey resulted in a substantial assessment report and a series of annotated maps.
SURVEY: The team identified and mapped the locations of different traditional buildings, architectural elements and traditional façade-continuums that emphasize and accentuate the architectural and urban heritage value of the village. Identification was based on architectural significance, level of craftsmanship and the level of historic integrity. The team carried out a series of informal interviews and discussions with citizens in order to complement the results of the above-mentioned survey with existing governmental plans and other qualitative information such as the views and interests of the relevant stakeholders (MoA officials, the mayor (oumda) of Shutb, the Martyred Prince Tadrous al-Shutby Church clergy, and Shutb's local residents). The findings of the interviews have enriched the different sections of the assessment report with information on village history, local community structure, residents' perceptions, existing challenges and opportunities, and the on-going improved sanitation project in the village. The team was able to collect valuable documents related to the World Bank funded project (ISSIP II) aiming at providing Shutb and its neighbouring villages with improved sanitation services in the near future.
URBAN FABRIC - SOLID AND VOID ANALYSIS: Similar to other traditional Egyptian villages, the density of the urban fabric of Shutb is high despite the fact that the average building height in the village is 2-4 storeys. The high density can be attributed to two main reasons: first, a desire to minimize the area of land used for residential uses, and hence, maximize the area of land used for agriculture; and second, due to the hilly nature of the village which represented a natural barrier preventing expansion. The need to build on top of the hill is also attributed to risks of floods, especially before the construction of the High Dam in the 1960s. Over the past few decades, and with the increasing demand for housing in the village due to demographic growth, residents started either: i) demolishing existing traditional buildings and replacing them with modern concrete structures; or ii) expanding on the agricultural lands surrounding the village. As a result, it is possible to identify from the aerial maps of the village two types of urban fabric: i) a traditional, organic and dense urban fabric within the historic core of the village; and ii) a more modern and regular urban fabric on the outer boundaries of the village and along its main roads following the regular and straightforward irrigation canals and subdivision of agricultural lands.
URBAN FABRIC - PUBLIC OPEN SPACE: The street network in Shutb is organic, again similar to other Egyptian traditional villages. It consists of a dense network of narrow winding streets; all surrounded by a ring road connecting the entire village together - the Dayir El-Nahiya Road. The latter also defines the historic core of the village. Public open space is not designed or intentioned, rather, it is left over space resulting from the relationship between different buildings. The value of public space in the village does therefore not stem from its aesthetic values or streetscape features; rather, it stems from the architectural values of its surrounding buildings, and more importantly, from the community activities that take place in it. Meanwhile, spaces distributed along the outer boundary of the village are of a more public nature such as the village marketplace or its main North and South entrances.
URBAN FABRIC - INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: Shutb has one main paved road - the Dayir El-Nahiya Road. The road encloses its historic core and separates it from the modern urban extensions built on the agricultural lands. On the other hand, all the inner streets, alleyways and public open spaces of Shutb are unpaved (dirt roads), characterised by haphazard change in levels and narrow widths that are not suitable even for Tuk Tuk 'rickshaws' to pass. These alleyways are usually damp and contain wet areas because excess wastewater is deposed off in these alleyways by housewives. There is also the habit of watering these alleyways against dust and to cool down the ambient temperature. The alleyways are sometimes occupied by domestic farm animals whose faecal waste adds to the already spread-out garbage inside these alleyways. Inside the village, means of transport are quite non-motorized since residents depend mainly on locally owned donkeys except for a few streets that accommodate cars and trucks such as Dayir El-Nahiya and al-Souq streets. In addition, Shutb has a railway station that represents one of the main connections between the village and its surroundings.
In terms of potable water supply, the village is connected to a governmental potable water network while some residents in the village still rely on underground water using pumps. The village encompasses a clearly visible governmental water tank securing its supply of potable water. Regarding electrical power, Shutb has access to the public electricity grid. The few main streets such as Dayir El-Nahiya are lit by public lighting. Otherwise, the alleyways are lit by means of private lighting fixtures installed above buildings' entrances or on some of the previously installed public lighting poles.
Shutb has no proper access to sanitation services. Instead, the residents mainly depend on septic tanks which require frequent clean-out by emptying the tanks using privately owned trucks locally known as 'sewage vacuum trucks or sewage tankers' - that provide their services at a fee. Accordingly, residents are cautious of the rapid filling of their waste tanks (septic tanks) because it costs them extra to empty them frequently. They rather get rid of excess amounts of grey water in the alleyways to reduce the daily discharge of wastewater.
Lack of sanitation is a major problem in Shutb due to the immediate health hazards of leaking sewage and the negative impact of sewage water on the foundations of existing buildings - especially the traditional ones. As a result, many buildings are in poor structural condition, suffering from settlement or cracks in the walls. In June 2014, Asyut's governor inaugurated a sanitation treatment and pumping station as part of an infrastructure and basic services' development plan for Shutb village. This effort is part of a larger World Bank funded project (ISSIP II PHASE II, EGP 570 million) aiming at extending improved sanitation services to many of Egypt's rural areas. In terms of solid waste, garbage spreads throughout the village; in the streets, alleyways and commonly in any public space with no clear ownership such as street corners, around public buildings and around ruins. Piles of garbage are accumulated in vacant land plots and around the slopes of the hill. Shutb's residents also burn rubbish in the streets due to lack of solid waste management system.
BUILDINGS: Shutb's built urban fabric mainly consists of residential buildings in addition to a few small public buildings (mosques, schools, church, health unit, railway service buildings, etc.) mostly scattered around the outer traditional perimeter of the village. There is a noticeable difference between the residential buildings on the hill in the historic core and the ones developed at a later stage in the village's urban expansion areas on the agricultural lands. Both are mostly private houses developed as owner-occupied buildings for the residents' extended families. Buildings on the tell are mostly 1-3 storey-high traditional houses with an attic on the rooftop used for storage purposes. Buildings in this area are attached to each other, forming continuing facades shaping the village's narrow winding streets, cul-de-sacs and public open spaces. Outside of the Dayir Al-Nahiya perimeter, buildings are more modern with a mix of modern houses and some apartment buildings also developed by private owners for their extended families. These modern buildings are mostly 3-5 storey-high developed over the past two decades, shaping the village's modern urban expansion. It is worth noting that except for a few modern public and apartment buildings, mostly located along the Dayir El-Nahiya Road, modern buildings in the village blend well within the village's urban fabric since they resemble many of the village's traditional buildings in terms of height and massing, but not in terms of building materials or architectural expressions. A more detailed typology can be found in the report published on the British Museum research page.
ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE AND STATE OF INTEGRITY: Investigating the significance of Shutb's traditional architecture and urban fabric is not an easy endeavour. Building a consensus among different stakeholders (including the local residents, the Governorate and the MoA officials) that Shutb's traditional architecture and urban fabric would be considered as 'heritage' that merits protection and conservation is a complicated process. To the majority of the stakeholders, Shutb is merely an 'ordinary' village; hence, many of its traditional buildings have been demolished in the past without any protection or documentation measures. Therefore, it is imperative to start building an appreciation among the different stakeholders of the village's built heritage. To this effect, it is important to understand and analyse the different values of the various elements of this 'built' heritage. On the urban level, Shutb is unique in the sense of its geographic and topographic setting as a village entirely developed on a hilly plateau with clear physical boundaries. The organic nature of the village's street network, the village's limited accessibility due to its topographic nature, and the availability of surrounding agricultural lands to absorb the village's urban expansion have all contributed to preserving the village's traditional urban fabric and relieving the urban pressure that would have destroyed it. Therefore, the main urban/historic core of the village within the Dayir El-Nahiya perimeter still maintains its traditional features in terms of density, massing and urban features.
GENERAL STATE OF CONSERVATION: The majority of the buildings within the Dayir El-Nahiya perimeter are either in deteriorating or in poor state of conservation. This can be attributed to three main reasons: i) the poor quality of the soil (mostly consisting of silt and clay) and the negative impact of sewage water on it; ii) the attempts of some of residents to illegally excavate beneath their buildings; and iii) lack of periodic maintenance or proper technical and financial support to maintain the village buildings. Most of the traditional buildings require an intermediate level of intervention to repair the facade elements, and maintain their sanitation systems. Fewer of the surveyed traditional buildings also suffer from structural damage and have visible structural cracks in their walls. Such buildings will require a more intrusive intervention to address their dilapidated structural conditions. Finally, the team identified only one traditional building of value that was partially ruined and would require the reconstruction of its ruined section. Repair attempts carried by the residents are usually ad-hoc and only aesthetic, as most residents cannot afford to perform proper repairs to their structures, and some of the residents who can afford it would rather build new households on the outskirts of the village where there is better soil, building conditions, and closer amenities.
HERITAGE CONSERVATION ASPECTS: One of the main findings of this mission is that the village of Shutb is indeed privileged, with valuable heritage assets that require intensive and systemic efforts towards their protection, documentation, conservation, proper management and promotion. But there is a lack of appreciation of this heritage among local residents, the governorate and the Ministry of Antiquities. Except for the archaeological site, to the aforementioned stakeholders Shutb is an 'ordinary' village similar to many others in Upper Egypt. Traditional houses in the village are considered 'old' structures awaiting their demolition and replacement by more modern structures that fit the residents' aspirations for better living conditions. This vision, to a large extent, is shared among the aforementioned stakeholders; hence there are no efforts either by the residents or the officials to address the escalating problems facing the village's traditional built environment. Without addressing this critical hindrance and trying to build a shared understanding and appreciation of the elements of Shutb's tangible and intangible heritage among the different stakeholders, efforts to address the problems of this heritage would be futile. As a result of the above, the village's tangible and intangible heritage suffer from: i) lack of proper documentation of the different elements of this heritage; ii) lack of protection measures for the built heritage against demolition or loss; iii) lack of periodic maintenance or conservation efforts; iv) lack of proper urban and heritage management tools and measures; and consequently v) lack of any efforts to promote this heritage locally or internationally to capitalize on it and benefit the local community. Add to that the lack of sanitation services in the village, the poor nature of the soil, illegal excavations, and uncontrolled urban development in the village's historic core and expansion areas.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL ASPECTS: The village is privileged with connectivity to means of transportation and main roads, proximity to Asyut City - benefiting from its services, facilities and job opportunities, almost universal connectivity to the electrical power grid and public potable water networks, and availability of many public services and facilities within the village (public schools, health unit, post office, fire station, commercial facilities, etc.). However, the preliminary findings of this mission reveal that the village also faces some threats and challenges including: (1) Lack of improved sanitation services in the village (in 2006, only 2% of the families were connected to a sewage network); (2) Lack of efficient solid waste management system addressing spread of garbage and animal faecal waste in the village public open spaces - resulting in overall hygiene problems; (3) High levels of illiteracy and unemployment especially among women.
SUMMARY OF INTERVIEWS WITH THE LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS: During the mission, the team was able to conduct some informal interviews with local residents of the village, the Martyred Prince Tadrus al-Shutby clergy, and the Mayor (oumda) of Shutb - Mr. Abdel-Aziz Kidwany. Shutb residents share a common folk story of an old dispute between the ancient rulers of Shutb and the nearby village of Drunka located to the West of Shutb. Some residents believe that this dispute ended up by Drunka's ruler burning down the whole village of Shutb - in line with the Ibn Duqmaq 14th Century interpretation of the village history. Some of the residents base this belief on the fact that during any excavation they would find layers of dark soil which they refer to as ashes of the older burnt village. It is also worthy of note that many residents expressed a high level of interest in knowing about the history of their village. Residents were curious about how the hill (tell) was formed and all of them confirmed that the tell represents the oldest part of the village. Residents were also eager to explore how this higher land of the tell existed and why the original village was established there. However, some residents suggested that their ancient ancestors of Shutb chose to build their houses on the tell to protect themselves from the Nile flood. Residents also stated that the area around Dayir El-Nahiya was originally used for granaries. In addition, Shutb al-Mahata School is considered as one of the oldest buildings in the village because it was established in one of the rail way station buildings constructed during the British occupation of Egypt (before 1954). Residents also stated that most of the schools in Shutb were constructed depending on local donations. Regarding other services, older residents confirmed that electricity was provided in 1972 and the village had access to water in 1955.
Another story is related to the Martyred Prince Tadrus al-Shutby whose name is carried by the only Church in Shutb - located at the centre of the village's historic core. According to one of the Church's publications, the prince is believed to be a descendant of a Coptic father from Shutb -who moved to Antakya during a conflict between the Persian and the Roman empires- and a mother from Antakya - from whom Tadrus inherited his title 'the Prince'. The publication mentions that Prince Tadrus al-Shutby -who is believed to have many miracles-, visited Shutb only once to meet his father. After the Prince passed away, his body was transferred to Shutb and that is where the current church was established. Two residents -besides the Church's publication- suggested that Shutb had several churches, which were mainly located on the tell. In terms of SOCIAL NETWORKS, Shutb encompasses almost 20 families with some of them having roots and kinship ties from other governorates such as Qena. The current oumda belongs to 'Aal-Kidwany which is a prominent and wealthy family. Other major families are 'Aal-Nemais, 'Aal -Hadary, 'Aal-Saqr and their cousins 'Aal-Mazen. Other families also include 'Aal-Hammady, 'Aal-Tammam, 'Aal-Zidan, 'Aal-Ma`bady, 'Aal-Salman, 'Aal-Bedair, 'Aal-Qasim, Bayt Ali Othman, Bayt `Oqaily Abdel-Halim, and Bayt Farghaly. There is also a number of Coptic families in the village including 'Aal-Nossair, al-Naqadra, al-Qarannyah, Mishriqi Mousa, Sidrak Mikha'il and Nassim al-Sarraf. Accordingly decision making in the village is a deliberative process and depends on ties and relationships between the different families, and also on their geographic location in the village. Usually decision makers are reputable elderly men and community leaders who owe the respect of the community. In earlier times, the main decision maker was Sheikh al-Hessa who was usually an appointed man with a record of all residents of the village.
Apart from work in the modern village, the team has also begun to unravel Shutb's ancient history thereby engaging the local community in all phases of the work. An archaeological trench of 10-10m on the western edge of the tell yielded several historical building phases. The study of the pottery identified three main chronological phases: (1) the 21st - 26st Dynasty (1070-525 BC), (2) the Byzantine period (5th - early 7th century AD), and (3) the end of the Ottoman period (1517-1867) to the beginning of the 20th century. Whether local or imported; most of the pottery could be identified as domestic pottery; tableware for cooking and food preparation, storage and transportation containers, and lamps. An initial geo-archaeological survey on the edges of the town aimed at complementing this information. Through augering, the project hopes to identify the borders of the ancient city and understand the surrounding landscape, in particular in relation to the city of Asyut. For example, the biographical inscription in the tomb of Khety in the Asyut necropolis describes the fleet during the First Intermediate Period as being so long as to reach from Asyut to Shashotep, around 5km as the crow flies. From this we infer that both Asyut and Shashotep were on the river at that time. The results of this work are still being processed but preliminary observations suggest that the town historically migrated north-east to the location of the present village. Sherds from the lower (augur) core levels suggest that the area was inhabited from the First Intermediate Period onwards.
Exploitation Route Because of the above outlined (STDF) funding problems, the second phase will overlap slightly with the first in that it includes the finalisation of the documentation of the vernacular architecture and a deeper commitment to community engagement. The following SHORT-TERM OBJECTIVES will be addressed by the British Museum team under the coordination of the PI: (1) Finalise and refine the content of survey report; (2) Finishing the documentation of vernacular architecture in Shutb (hand drawings, AutoCAD digital condition mapping, total station + photography) leading to defined plans for future conservation and restoration; (3) Document local attitudes towards heritage and stories related to the history of the village using creative industries (drawing and film); (4) Follow-up on the WWP, continue context documentation training for local inspectors; (5) Documentation of all activities by photography and film: (6) Production of Arabic booklets and preliminary report and engage with schools and representatives of the local community for distribution and information sessions; (7) Lectures and information sessions in the Ministry of Antiquities and foreign institutes in Cairo; (8) Finishing reports; dissemination through publication and the British Museum's website; (9) and UK-based training in documentation and adaptive re-use of historic buildings. Conducting social survey is sensitive in Egypt and will be done by integrating the(Egyptian) social officer into the architects team and engaging with the owners of the house while documenting. We did a test of one day last season and this approach works well.
FUTURE FUNDING will be sought for the following activities (next phases): - Use the enhanced appreciation for modern heritage to connect the modern with the ancient. Work with the local community to better understand the history of the village and have them perform ancient stories and use film to present that ancient heritage themselves; - Implement meaningful ways of intervention (will be more clearly defined based on the social surveys); - Integrate footage of the previous activities into British Museum display and other means of dissemination (website, Google cultural institute) to engage the UK audience with the context of the objects presented in showcases; - Comparative research of the vernacular architecture in the Asyut region. Compare the rural Shutb context with the urban (Asyut city); - Restore a few units of the vernacular architecture as preparation for adaptive re-use; - Implementation of a multi-functional rehabilitation programme of the restored buildings in ways beneficial and sustainable for the local community (for example, community centre or women's health clinic); - Prepare policy that allows the Ministry of Antiquities to implement methodology at other sites.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description Efforts to engage local stakeholders focussed on capacity building through documentation and training linked to the above mentioned activities. The impact was most substantial for local heritage specialists of the Ministry of Antiquities. We considered this of prime importance as their cooperation is vital for the continuation and success of the project. The project was introduced during an information session in the Wikala Shalaby in the old city of Asyut. In October 2016, additional training courses were organised in cooperation with the Asyut inspectorate. During the October season, the British Museum team in coordination with Takween acted as liaison between the different stakes holders in the World Bank's improved sanitation or waste water project (ISSIP II). Concrete outcomes of the latter were a report on the impact of the project followed by a set of recommendations that can be adopted during its implementation, and a meeting attended by local representatives of the World bank project, engineers of the water company, the sheikh el-Balad (representing the village population) and local representatives of the Ministry of Antiquities. The impact of this project will be life changing for the local community and the project representatives on the ground found it important to convince the Ministry of Antiquities of this. Their initial reaction was to block the sanitation project as it may affect archaeological layers below the modern village. Given the special importance and need of improved sanitation in Shutb Village; and in light of the current efforts of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the British Museum to preserve the existing archaeological site and the historic integrity of the traditional houses and urban fabric, a set of recommendations that can be adopted during the implementation of the sanitation project were formed by Takween. First; the Improved Sanitation Project - if properly implemented -has a direct positive impact on improving the environmental and hygiene conditions of the village, as well as on the protection of the archeological site and the existing architecturally significant buildings. Second; to achieve this positive impact, it is recommended to: (1) Adhere to Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) guidelines and regulations especially during the excavation works, under the supervision of a specialized consultant (i.e. excavation side supporting, shoring of adjacent buildings if necessary; and adhering to the HSE / Risk Management reports issued by the contractor and approved by the consultant); (2) As much as possible, implement excavation activities using manual methods and avoid mechanical methods especially in EL-Kom area (within the perimeter of Dayer El-Nahia); (3) Adhere to all the recommendations in the project's Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report, and the World Bank standards in this regard; (4) The new sanitation network - once operational - would lead to drying out the village's existing septic tanks currently used for sanitation in the medium-term. Hence, this is expected to reduce the soil's existing water content. This process would lead to shrinkage of the soil's top layers in El-Kom area, which would in turn affect the structural safety of the existing buildings on the medium-term. Therefore, it is recommended to carry out a 'Soil Shrinkage Study' before implementing the sanitation project. The study can be carried out based on the results of 5-6 Dry Boreholes by a specialized consulting entity such as the 'Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering Unit' in Ain Shams or Asyut University. The study will include the Dry Boreholes findings, expected impacts of the project, and means to mitigate them - if any.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

Description Impact of the Improved Sanitation Project in Shutb Village
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact During the October season, the Takween team acted as liaison between the different stakes holders in the World bank's improved sanitation or waste water project (ISSIP II). Concrete outcomes of the latter were a report on the impact of the project followed by a set of recommendations that can be adopted during its implementation. Given the special importance of the improved sanitation project in Shutb Village (Asyut Governorate), and in light of the current efforts of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the British Museum to preserve the existing archaeological site and the historic integrity of the village houses and urban fabric, the project formulated a set of recommendations that can be adopted during the implementation of the sanitation project.
Description PRAXIS case study
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The report is the result of one year of intensive collaborative work, made of in-depth conversations, interviews, online surveys, and consultations with GRCF Challenge Leaders, Portfolio Managers, Principal Investigators, Co-investigators, and partners through an iterative process and including communication with AHRC. The report incorporates also the key findings from PRAXIS Learning Events on 'Heritage and Policy' and 'Food and Heritage', as well as from the Nexus Event on 'Heritage for Global Challenges'.
Description AHRC Translating Cultures and Care for the Future
Amount £77,366 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/P007724/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 04/2018
Description Partnership with a local urban development company 
Organisation Takween Integrated Community Development
Country Egypt 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Our research team has mainly provided logistical support and exchanged information and data.
Collaborator Contribution The architectural survey of vernacular architecture and existing infrastructure systems (such as sewerage and fresh water networks) as well as the socio-cultural surveys were carried out by members of Takween Integrated Community Development ( Takween is a leading community development service provider in the Middle East that offers hands-on technical expertise for built environment, social and economic development interventions.
Impact Takween's reports can be found on the British Museum-Asyut region project page: As the company consists of native speakers with a lot of experience in dealing with rural developing contexts, our work would not be possible without the involvement of such expertise. Takween provides a constant liaison between the British Museum team and local stakeholders.
Start Year 2016
Description Partnership with the Ministry of Antiquities 
Organisation Ministry of State of Antiquities
Country Egypt 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Exchange of information, training and capacity building.
Collaborator Contribution The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities provides logistical support and supervises work on the ground through local inspectors. Representative Mohamed Soliman is 'Director of the modern age-antiquities' sites at the Ministry of Antiquities after having been the director for development of Islamic and Coptic sites in Alexandra and the Northern coast. Soliman provided important liaison with the local representatives of the Ministry of Antiquities.
Impact All aspects of the work conducted locally are in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities. Without their support, projects are not allowed to work.
Start Year 2016
Description EES webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lecture entitled 'Culture heritage as sustainable development: A case-study from the Asyut region (Middle Egypt)' in an online workshop 'Practices of Community Engagement in Egypt and Sudan', organised by the Egypt Exploration Society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description Engagement with the local community (Takween - as part of initial trust building meetings) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact An important part of the project consists of engaging with local communities, heritage professionals and other stakeholders through training and capacity building by (hands-on experience) and implementation of projects (rather than class room style presentations and meetings). A series of surveys and meetings with the local community have taken place, to (1) assess the impact of the village's presence on the archaeological remains and (2) identify and prioritise meaningful ways of intervention. A survey of existing infrastructure systems such as solid waste disposal and sewerage and fresh water networks have addressed the following questions: Who is responsible for garbage collection and do defined spots for disposal and collection exist? Where do fresh water supplies come from? Are wells being dug in the vicinity of the village? A public outreach component has targeted Shutb's citizens to raise awareness about the importance of heritage and communicate intentions of possible long-term projects.
The envisioned documentation training sessions have not taken place due to suspension of the second part of the funding. All activities have been photo-documented.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017