1 Lecturer, IICAH and Principal, Biggs Consulting Engineering,

2 Director, Architectural and Site Conservation Programs, University of Delaware, Institute for Global Studies, Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage,


There are countless historic monuments and structures in need of preservation and restoration throughout the world. Unfortunately, limitations on funding prevent governments or agencies from saving many monumental structures. However, a greater emphasis on temporary stabilization offers an opportunity to extend the lives of these structures with the hope that funding can be obtained in the future to perform actual restoration.

The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) is one organization that stresses the importance of temporary stabilization. Established in 2008 under a U.S. Department of State initiative as part of the Iraq Cultural Heritage Project and continued since 2011 under the aegis of an international academic Advisory Council, the Institute brings experts from around the world to train Iraqi museum and heritage professionals, mostly non-engineers, in the preservation and conservation of their national treasures.

This paper will discuss some the basic concepts for temporary stabilization of historic masonry structures that are taught in Iraq and that can be applied to other countries. The goal is for museum and heritage professionals to understand basic structural principles, recognize the need for temporary stabilization, and retain technical advice to design the stabilization. Examples will be taken from the citadel town of Erbil, Iraq.


Keywords: Stabilization, masonry, citadel, shoring