In July 2011 participants, instructors, and supporters gathered to celebrate the completion of the Seventeenth International Course on Stone Conservation. Eighteen conservators, architects, geologists, and conservation scientists from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, India, Korea, the Netherlands, Palestine, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and United Kingdom had come to Italy for twelve weeks to study the history, theory, and practice of stone conservation. The course—conducted in Rome at ICCROM—was coorganized by the Getty Conservation Institute and ICCROM.
This was the first time since its inception in 1976 that the stone course was held at ICCROM, which allowed participants to take full advantage of the organization’s numerous resources. Participants had direct access to ICCROM's conservation library, and the scientific component of the course was significantly enhanced through regular use of the ICCROM laboratories. The extraordinary architectural heritage of Rome provided a backdrop to discuss a variety of stone conservation problems, and local professionals presented their work on many of the monuments through a series of topical site visits. The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome served as the fieldwork site where participants worked to document, assess, and conserve six historic tombs. Fieldwork in the cemetery offered a unique opportunity for many to practice the handiwork of conservation and appreciate the technique and skill required of a field conservator. In the end, the stone course resulted in six conserved tombs and an expanded community of conservation professionals.