In 2018, the British Council entrusted Première Urgence Internationale (Gaza Branch) with the restoration of the monastery of Saint-Hilarion and Mukheitim. The École Biblique has accepted the task of giving scientific oversight and direction to the work. Last January Fr. J.-B. Humbert OP accompanied the Spanish consultants of the International Cooperatión Gestión, who are responsible for drawing up a report on the archaeological work carried out in Gaza. The NGO then drew up an official report.
Première Urgence Internationale also produced a video of the archaeological sites in Gaza. In six minutes, one discovers the history of the sites and the aim of the project, the restoration techniques put in place, but also the face and voice of those working to preserve the remains. René Elter, architect-archaeologist attached to the École Biblique, responsible for the work, and Maxime Santiago have produced a 3D reconstruction of the monastery of Saint-Hilarion as it stood in the 6th century.
The difficulties encountered by the company must be underscored. Access to Gaza is restricted by quotas, the confinement of the entire territory has been in place for thirteen years, and the political and social situation is tense. The assessment of the restoration work carried out by the Spanish is very positive. Donors have therefore not hesitated to renew the contract for the coming year. The training of young people in the historical restoration and preservation will be continued to everyone’s satisfaction. Congratulations to all those involved in this wonderful project.
To listen to the France Culture podcast ” L’École Biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, with Jean-Baptiste Humbert”, click here. The restorations are discussed from 14:22.
To read our article and view the portrait of Fadel Al-Utol, Palestinian archaeologist, team leader of the restoration site, click here.