The Use and Conservation of Stone in Buildings

A short intensive course organized by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE), the Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra (CARCIP), and The French Institute of Archaeology for the Near East (IFAPO), in association with the Bavarian State Conservation Office (BlfD)

General information

Course program

Information on participating institutions

Biographical information on course lecturers

General information:

Introduction: Stone is a most widespread construction material in Jordan, and is an integral part of both its historical and contemporary architectural production. “The Use and Conservation of Stone in Buildings” is an intensive course that aims at providing those involved in the construction and conservation of stone with an overview of the issues that need to be addressed when dealing with this construction material. The course will begin by addressing stone in its natural geologic state and will discuss its physical, chemical, and mechanical properties. It will also address the methods of quarrying, cutting, and carving of stone, and thus its processing from a raw material to one used in construction. This will be followed by an historical overview of stone building techniques. The course will also address the processes resulting in the decay of stone, both manmade and natural, and will end with various methods the can be used for conserving and repairing stone. The course will consist of lectures and site visits.

Lecturers: A group of international specialists from France, Germany, and Jordan will administer the course lectures and site visits. They represent a variety of disciplines including architecture, structural engineering, conservation, and geology.

Participants: The course is open to professionals involved in the construction and conservation of monuments. These include architects, construction engineers, archaeologists, and conservators. The number of participants in the course will be limited to 25, and admission to the course will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Dates and times: The course will extend over a period of six days divided over two parts of three days each. The first part will take place on September 28, 29, and 30, 2000 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and the second part will take place on October 5, 6, and 7, 2000 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). This scheduling will allow professionals to attend the course and only miss a minimal number of workdays. The schedule for each day of the course will extend from 9:00 am – 3:30 p.m., with a lunch break and two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Language of instruction: English.

Certificate of attendance: Participants completing the course requirements will receive a certificate of attendance signed by the four institutions participating in the organization of this course.

Registration fees: Registration fees for the course are 85 JD. The fees cover less than 20% of the costs of organizing the course, with the difference being provided through support from the participating institutions. The fees for the course also cover printed course handouts, as well as lunches and coffee breaks.

For additional information please contact May Shaer, CARCIP (telephone: 464 5950; e-mail:, Mohammad al-Asad, CSBE (telephone: 461 5297), or email us.

Course program

Part I: The Nature and Technology of Stone

Day 1 (Thursday, 28 Sept.): Quarrying and Carving of Stone


Departure to Jerash from IFAPO

10:15 – 10:30

Introduction to the course (M. al-Asad)

10:30 – 11:30

Lecture: traditional techniques of stone quarrying and carving (J.-C. Bessac)

11:30 – 13:00

Study tour: tool marks and building techniques (J.-C. Bessac)

14:00 – 16:00

Visit to nearby quarries (J.-C. Bessac)

16:00 – 17:00

Case study in conservation: Jerash (J.-P. Braun)

Day 2 (Friday, 29 Sept.): Basic Mineralogy and Petrology - Properties of Stone and Mortar

9:00 – 10:15

Mineralogy (H. Fischer)

10:30 – 12:00

Petrology (H. Fischer)

13:00 – 14:15

Physical and mechanical properties of stone I (S. Simon)

14:30 – 15:30

Physical and mechanical properties of stone II (S. Simon)

Day 3 (Saturday, 30 Sept.): Building in Stone and Mortar

9:00 – 10:00

Overview of historical building techniques (J.-P. Braun)

10:00 – 11:00

Technology of mortar (S. Simon)

11:15 – 12:15

Contemporary building techniques (H. Imam Hussaini)


Visit to stone-cutting workshop (I)

Part II: The Deterioration and Conservation of Stone

Day 1 (Thursday, 5 Oct.): Stone Deterioration

9:00 – 10:15

Morphology of stone decay (M. Shaer)

10:30 – 12:00

Chemical and physical decay mechanisms (H. Fischer)

13:00 - 14:15

Ethics and principles of conservation (M. Kuhlenthal)

14:30 - 15:30

Structural issues I (H. Saffarini)

Day 2 (Friday, 6 Oct.): Conservation of Stone

9:00 – 10:15

Structural issues II (H. Saffarini)

10:30 – 12:00

Stone consolidants (Z. al-Saa'd)

13:00 – 14:15

Protection and repair of stone (Z. al-Saa'd)

14:30 – 15:30

Environmental Protection (Z. Aslan)

Day 3 (Saturday, 7 Oct.): Conservation and Use of Stone

9:00 – 10:15

Methods of stone cleaning (Z. al-Saa'd)

10:30 – 12:00

Experiences in building in stone (J. Tukan)


Visit to stone cutting workshop (II)

Information on participating institutions

The Bavarian State Conservation Office (BlfD) (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) is the professional authority for the German state of Bavaria on all questions relating to the protection and preservation of historic buildings and monuments. Its main duty is the preservation of Bavaria’s rich historical heritage. It got its name in 1917, but was established in 1908 as an independent authority with the mandate to deal with issues of perservation of historical monuments. The Bavarian State Conservation Office has five departments, which address the areas of building and art preservation; archaeological preservation; research; restoration workshops; and non-state museums.

The Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE) is a non-profit, private study and research institution that aims at providing a better understanding of the built environment and of the challenges facing it in Jordan and the region. CSBE is an interdisciplinary center that addresses areas including environmental studies, urban design and planning, conservation, architecture, landscape architecture, and construction technologies.

The Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra (CARCIP) is a project (Petra Stone Preservation) funded by the German government and executed by GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Agency) to assist the Jordanian government in establishing a conservation and restoration center in Petra. The project is currently in its third phase of implementation, after which the center will be entirely operated by Jordanian specialists and staff.

The French Institute of Archaeology for the Near East (IFAPO) (l'Institut Français d'Archéologie du Proche-Orient) is an archaeological research center that was first established in Beirut in 1946. The Amman branch of the Institute was opened in 1977. Since its inception in Amman, IFAPO has been active in providing logistical help to French and other foreign missions during their archaeological and geographical expeditions in Jordan. In addition, IFAPO has carried out its own excavations with architectural and other cultural material studies at various sites in Jordan (Petra, Jerash, Iraq al-Amir, Wadi Ramm).

Biographical information on course lecturers

Zaki Aslan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Conservation, Presentation, and Management of Archaeological Sites at University College London (UCL), and is a conservation architect and heritage manager at the Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra (CARCIP). He taught onsite conservation courses at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome and UCL, and published papers given at conferences on the topic.

Jean-Claude Bessac is a research engineer with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). He has considerable experience in the restoration of buildings, and is a specialist in areas related to the field of stone construction such as traditional stone masonry tools.

Jean-Pierre Braun is an architect and archaeologist, and director of the French Institute of Archaeology for the Near East in Amman. After completing his studies in architecture and archaeology, he held a postgraduate scholarship at the École Française d’Archéologie in Rome. He participated in architectural studies, archaeological missions, and urban planning projects in Greece, Iraq, Italy, Mali, and in South America. He was also a professor of architecture at the School of Architecture “Belleville,” Paris.

Helge Fischer is a geologist and director of the Petra Stone Preservation Project/GTZ – the joint Jordanian-German project for the establishment of the Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra. His areas of specialization are mineralogy, petrology and economic geology, and he has had considerable experience in evaluating, designing and planning development projects in the higher education sector. He held teaching positions at a number of universities including the University of Bonn and the University of the Philippines in Manila.

Hani Imam Hussaini is an architect and partner at Marsam Architects and Engineers. He has practiced in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, as well as Jordan where he is currently based. He has been involved in the design of new structures as well as the renovation of existing ones, and has worked on projects in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Gibraltar, Portugal, and Greece.

Michael Kuhlenthal is an art historian and former director of the Restoration Workshops and Laboratories at the Bavarian State Conservation Office. He has advised on principles and procedures for implementing restoration measures at projects all over the world, including Petra, through the Petra Stone Preservation Project.

Ziad al-Saa'd is a conservation scientist and director of the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at Yarmouk University. He has been teaching courses relating to conservation and applied science in archaeology since 1992. He has supervised several post-graduate theses and has written extensively on subjects relating to conservation science.

Hassan Saffarini is a structural engineer and regional director of the Amman office of the Riyadh-based architectural and engineering firm Omrania and Associates, and an associate professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Jordan. His numerous fields of expertise include the inspection, structural assessment and evaluation, retrofitting, and design of unusual structures.

May Shaer is a conservation architect with the Conservation and Restoration Center in Petra (CARCIP). She has written a number of articles relating to archaeology and conservation, and is one of the editors of the Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.

Stefan Simon is a conservation scientist and lecturer at the Technical University of Munich. He has consulted on several projects worldwide and his specific area of specialization is the non-destructive testing of materials for conservation purposes.

Jafar Tukan is an architect and principal of Jafar Tukan and Partners. He is one of the leading architects in Jordan and the region, and his projects are located in numerous countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. He is also among those who have carried out serious explorations relating to the use of stone in architecture.