Lacasa-Marquina et al., 2014: IN SITU CONSERVATION STRATEGIES
INTRODUCTION
assemblage is dominated by large and
medium-sized animals (mainly adults), and
The conservation of archeo-paleontological
comprises Proboscidean, Equidae, small and
heritage is a discipline that aims at preserving
large
Bovidae,
Giraffidae,
Suidae,
and
these remains as they hold a wealth of
Carnivora (Sahnouni and van der Made, 2009).
scientific evidence about evolution that must be
El-Kherba and Ain Hanech classic site are
safeguarded
for
present
and
future
contemporary, with an estimated age of
generations. In this sense, the definition and
1.78
.Ma (Sahnouni et al., 2002, 2004, 2011;
implementation of an effective conservation
Sahnouni and van der Made, 2009), and were
management plan, for short, medium and long
formed within the Plio-Pleistocene floodplain
term becomes particularly important as a
deposits of Beni Fouda sedimentary basin. They
measure to ensure their safeguard. The
are both contained in the cyclothemic Unit T
strategies integrated in this plan should provide
(Figure 1) of the Ain Hanech Formation, which
technical solutions through direct or indirect
is of fluvial origin and consists of a stratified
actions in order to avoid, minimize and arrest
medium energy layer in the lower part and a
the potential and current damaging processes
silty deposit in the upper part (Sahnouni and
which could affect the remains. All measures
de Heinzelin, 1998). El-Kherba comprises three
and actions should respect the significance and
different
archeo-paleontological
levels
of
the physical properties of the cultural heritage
variable thickness: A= 70 cm, B= 40 cm and
item (ICOM-CC, 2008). For that reason, a
C= 50 cm (Sahnouni et al, 2002).
pre-analysis consisting of examining the state
of preservation of the archeo-paleontological
materials
and
the
identification
of
the
exogenous
and
endogenous
risk
factors
affecting their physical and chemical integrity,
is crucial to define an effective conservation
plan.
The collaboration between the CENIEH and the
Institut d'Archéologie de l'Université d'Alger 2
has enabled the definition and implementation
of a preliminary conservation management plan
in order to provide solutions to the specific
degradation problems found in the sub-fossil
remains of El-Kherba. The pre-analysis includes
the evaluation of the state of preservation of a
bone sample and the identification of the
potential and current risk degradation factor
through the study of the geological and
sedimentary conditions, the aerial environment,
and the interaction between all these factors.
EL-KHERBA SITE BACKGROUND
The site of El-Kherba is located on the edge of
Figure 1: Stratigraphic position of El-Kherba relative to the
Ain Hanech Formation. Both the Ain Hanech and El-Kherba
the eastern Algerian High Plateaus near the city
localities with Oldowan stone tools are contained in Unit T
of
El-Eulma
in
the
province
of
Sétif
with an estimated age of 1.78 Myr (Sahnouni et al., 2013).
(northeastern Algeria). It was discovered in
1992 in the course of an archeological survey of
The bone sample represented in this study was
the Ain Hanech study area. The site is part of
excavated from level B, which is a flood plain
the Ain Hanech Plio-Pleistocene site complex,
deposit consisting of silt and clay with gravel
and situated 350 m south of the classical
and calcic grains, deposited on top of a
locality of Ain Hanech (Sahnouni, 1998).
conglomerate of gravel of various sizes and
El-Kherba yielded a rich savanna-like, fauna
shapes. Bones were incorporated in a mottled
associated with Mode I stone artefacts,
silty matrix and carbonate lumps more or less
technologically
and
typologically
Oldowan
decalcified (Sahnouni and de Heinzelin, 1998).
(Sahnouni, 1993, 1998, 2006). The faunal
The
mineralogical
study
of
the
silty
4
Journal of Paleontological Techniques