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


Caesarea
Caesarea National Park
Conservation Maintenance
Implemented by: Gavriel Solomon

 
Since the completion of the Caesarea Conservation Project (1992–2002) a team of conservators has been working at the site, charged with the continued conservation maintenance of the antiquities there. This is the first site in the country for which a multiyear conservation maintenance file was prepared. The maintenance cycle is fourteen months; however, it changes occasionally depending on the state of preservation of the elements at the site.
 
The main objectives of multiyear maintenance are: to monitor the weathering processes at the site, treat architectural and artistic elements that are currently subjected to weathering and destructive processes, as well as provide a response to the deterioration of previous interventions. Accordingly, the maintenance team monitors the materials from the standpoint of their durability and quality, checks the stability of the buildings, identifies safety problems arising at the site and implements conservation work and minimal restoration.
 
The Caesarea conservation team, which is responsible for maintaining the site, numbers nineteen employees who were trained in the 1990’s, at the time of the Caesarea Excavation and Conservation Project. The staff is currently employed not only at Caesarea but at other sites also, as the need arises.
 
The storm that swept the country in the winter of 2010 caused enormous destruction to the antiquities at the site, including accelerating the weathering and destruction processes that occur there due to the corrosive maritime environment in which it is located. This weather event intensified the need for conservation maintenance at the site and led to the preparation of an emergency plan to rehabilitate the damage. Nevertheless, the treatment was only implemented in 2012 after the government appropriated funding for it.
 
The main conservation measures the team carried out in 2012 were: preparation of drainage in different places throughout the site; weeding and preventive spraying; rehabilitation of mosaic and marble floors including stabilizing borders by means of dismantling crumbling mortar and replacing it. The conservation measures implemented on the mosaics included: stabilizing a layer of tessellatum; “reintegrating” missing sections (lacunae) and visually illustrating the outline of the original decoration (Figures 1, 2); stabilizing the borders and restoring the mosaic in the Roman villa in the large palaestra; treating an opus sectile floor in the bathhouse and preparing it for display by means of building a negative of the flagstones in mortar (Figures 3, 4); rehabilitating and organizing the sculpture garden (Figures 5, 6); stabilizing the foundations of the aqueduct (Figures 7, 8) and stabilizing plaster edges.
 


To view the figures, click on the figure caption
 
 
 
 
 
1. A Roman villa in the large palaestra, 2011. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

2. Restoring the shape of the medallion by means of mortar and basalt gravel. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

3. Palaestra an opus sectile floor prior to restoration. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

4. An opus sectile floor after restoration of the negative. Photograph; Gabriel Solomon.

5. The sculpture garden prior to the conservation work. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

6. The sculpture garden after conservation. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

7. The foundation of the aqueduct prior to the conservation work. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.

8. The foundation of the aqueduct after conservation. Photograph: Gabriel Solomon.


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