New Integrated Knowledge based approachs to the protection of cultural heritage from Earthquake-induced Risk

‘Ein el Hanniya
‘Ein el Hanniya
Conservation and stabilization of structural elements at the site
OrdererNature and Parks Authority
DurationNovember-December 2007
Implemented by: Shiran Sabag
Evgeny Ivanovsky
Conservation Guidance - Yoram Saad, Head of the Implementation Branch

The site of ‘Ein el Hanniya (‘Ain el-Hania) is located in Nahal Refa’im in the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, next to Ein Yael, near the village of Battir and opposite Moshav Ora. Among the antiquities at the site there are remains of a nymphaeum that dates to the Roman period; the remains of a church and a mosaic from the Byzantine period; storage pools and system of irrigation channels that was used until 1948; and farming terraces. The purpose of the project was to stabilize the original elements in situ, from an engineering standpoint, and conserve them. In addition to this measures were taken in preparation of opening the site to visits by the public.
The following problems were identified in a preliminary physical survey of the site:
1. Collapse of the nymphaeum’s masonry stones and the formation of an open pit as a result of vandalism.
2. The top of the nymphaeum’s wall is not sealed which allows water to accumulate resulting in a vertical load and damage to the stability of the upper part of the wall.
3. Graffiti on the front of the nymphaeum.
4. The cement plaster in the nymphaeum pool is causing accelerated weathering of the masonry stones.
5. Collapse of a farming terrace due to an accumulation of soil and lateral pressure on the terrace wall.
6. Vegetation has taken root in the stones of the northern terrace.
7. Water is leaking from the channel that leads to the storage pool due to the poor quality of the construction (this is apparently later construction).
8. The outlet from the storage pool is blocked with stones, refuse and vegetation.

Conservation measures that were implemented at the site:
The Nymphaeum: The cement was removed from the joints which were pointed up with lime-based bonding material; the stones of the northeastern buttress were reconstructed in their original place (anastylosis); the top of the nymphaeum’s wall was sealed with a device so as to divert the rainwater from it. Due to budgetary constraints the graffiti will be cleaned at a later stage. The pit behind the nymphaeum was filled with indigenous soil and fieldstones from around the site; geotechnical cloth was placed at the bottom of the fill so as to separate the stones that collapsed from the soil that is covering them. The architectural elements of the nymphaeum were transferred to the courtyard of the Rockefeller Museum.

The Nymphaeum Pool: The cement plaster was removed from the nymphaeum pool (from a height of 80 cm) and the joints were pointed up with a lime-based bonding material.
The Water Channel Leading to the Storage Pool: The masonry stones on the channel’s western side were replaced; the joints were pointed up and the top of the wall was sealed.
The Storage Pool: This installation was cleaned of vegetation and rocks. It was stabilized and the plaster work was completed; the outlet was cleared of obstructions; the stone work in the arch was completed and the joints were pointed up.
Terraces: The stonework in the terraces was completed by means of dry construction without the use of bonding material, and the vegetation was removed.
There is potential for increasing the tourism activity at the site while at the same time conserving and developing those aspects which exist in the compound. Further development will require drafting a development plan, conducting an archaeological excavation, as well as drawing up plans for the conservation and long term maintenance of the site.
For additional information:
Mizrahi Y. 2005. Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel 117 (31.3.2005) (submitted 24.7.2008).

To view the figures, click on the figure caption
The nymphaeum, general view prior to treatment.

The nymphaeum pool after treatment.

Replacing the stones of the northeastern buttress.

The water channel between the nymphaeum and the storage pool, prior to treatment.

The water channel after being treated.

The storage pool prior to treatment.

The storage pool during the course of treatment.

The outlet from the storage pool prior to treatment.

The arch in the outlet after treatment.

site built by tetitu