The Northwest Heroon
During the past week we focused on fixing all horizontal layers of blocks up to the NW Heroon's lowest row of stones. We have now started the infill of the socle, which might take several days.
The Antonine Nymphaeum
This week's work on the nymphaeum along the north side of the Upper Agora focused mainly on the central niche and the second arch from the left. To assemble the central niche, we first had to put the architraves in their locations on either side of the central niche. We used the relation of the back wall, the capitals of the columns C8 and C9, and the traces on the back wall as reference. The remaining two architraves of the central niche were then placed with reference to the others and to the clamp holes on top. We finalized the placement by adjusting the architraves' top surface so that we'd have a smooth level for placing the three cornices. The bottom of the cornices was drawn on transparent polyester paper and applied on top of the architraves in order to understand the exact location. The fact that the curve of the cornices matched that of the architraves confirmed our placement of the architraves. We then put the three cornices into place with the help of the crane. We joined together the three blocks composing the fluted, shell-like conch above the cornices, thus completed the central niche. For the second arch, five of the six missing archivolts (blocks within the arch) were carved in their simple geometric form. After the trial made on the building with these, the third and seventh were revised. After the placement of the new blocks, the arch is now ready for the last missing archivolt--the keystone. In addition to the work on the second arch and the central niche, the front architrave of the fifth aedicula was put back into place. We also placed two columns in their original location. The stone carvers have been working on the missing parts of the architraves and the archivolts of the first arch. Eva Leplat finalized the fourth arch with the completion of the ninth voussoir's decoration. Sinan Ilhan continues with the decoration on the Corinthian capital. Since he left us to carry out other work at Limyra, the remaining capitals will have to be completed in his workshop during the winter.
On site conservation
This week our conservation team supervised by Paola Pesaresi and supported by the S.H. Kress Foundation joined forces again to focus on the mosaic. At long last, preparations for the detachment and removal process were finalized with the application of a fiberglass and wood superstructure. Mechanical removal then began with the detachment of the mosaic tiles from below. By hammering through the cocciopesto floor with custom-made steel spades (see Restoration, August 1-5), we laboriously separated the upper layer from the cement foundation. Once fully inserted, the spades were used to gently pry each section upward. Under the supervision of Paola Pesaresi and Stefano Volta, our team lifted four out of eleven sections of the mosaic out and away from the Domestic Area. They now await further treatment. Away from the main scene of action, Valentina Lini finished consolidating the wall paintings inside the bouleuterion's courtyard with a subtle mortar edging. She also applied an experimental facing in two selected small areas. The material used for the facing was developed with Stefano Volta. It is custom tailored for these frescoes as a countermeasure against the harsh Sagalassian climate. Simultaneously Rosella Buganza and Dario Guerini treated the wall plasters and the marble wall veneer in frigidarium 2 of the Roman Baths.