The United States Embassy in Algeria has launched a $175,000 project to restore the Medracen Mausoleum in Batna as part of a larger cultural preservation and anti-looting partnership with the Algerian Ministry of Culture and the Arts.
The project will start with an archeological review of the structural integrity of the pre-Roman Medracen Mausoleum and eventually lead to solutions to ensure the historic structure is stable and safe for visitors.
“Medracen is just one example of Algeria’s rich history and astounding number of cultural artifacts,” said Adam Sigelman, Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy during a project kick-off event in Batna in early December. “Through this partnership, we will help ensure Algerian heritage is accessible for future generations to enjoy.”
The Medracen Mausoleum project is part of an historic Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of cultural sites and objects signed in 2019. The U.S. Embassy’s partnership with the Ministry of Culture also includes the creation of digitized and shareable records of Algeria’s cultural objects, a review of Algeria’s legal cultural property protection framework, restoration of two Roman mosaics at the Museum of Antiquities in Algiers, training to support artisans who work in cultural tourism, the installation of security and anti-fire equipment at cultural sites including Tipaza, and public awareness campaigns.
The U.S. Embassy is partnering with the Algerian government as well as the not-for-profit organizations World Monuments Fund and the JM Kaplan Fund, Les Amis des Medracen, and two American archeologists who will work alongside Algerian counterparts to gain a better understanding of the archeological underpinnings of Medracen.
“The Medracen project is one important step of a suite of actions taken alongside our Algerian partners to safeguard Algeria’s cultural heritage,” Sigelman said. “I am confident that joint preservation projects like this one will become increasingly common and will continue to strengthen the strong bonds that connect the Algerian and American peoples.”
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