The Northwest Heroon
This week, reconstruction activities on the northwest Heroon focused on placing the third and fourth rows of the naiskos' cella walls. The Heroon team had to say good-bye to Tom Verbist who had to return to Belgium, but Ebru Torun was joined by Piraye Hacigüzeller (METU, Ankara and EMA KULeuven) who was of great help for the preparation of the ashlars before their final replacement.
The third and fourth course ashlars of the east, west and north cella walls were finally placed on the naiskos. All blocks had been prepared during the past week. Their structural cracks were stitched as needed, minor cracks were sealed, and dowels were placed at the lower surface of all ashlars. Our stonemasons completed the missing part of the northwest corner block on the fourth row and one entirely missing block of the north facade at this level. Three blocks of the third row, at the centre of the north facade of the naiskos were seriously eroded, as these must have been exposed to weathering conditions since the monument's collapse. Like all stones that had been exposed for centuries at Sagalassos, their surface is covered with lichen formations that erode the blocks at such an extent that the ashlars have lost up to 2 cm of their original dimensions. Inevitably, when reinstalled on the monument, these blocks prove difficult to level and to join with the adjacent ashlars. Therefore, they require a thin layer of mortar bedding at their horizontals joints. This caused some delay, but the problem was solved by the end of the week and the fourth row of ashlars was also satisfactorily fixed. For the south facade we had to wait for the preparation of the southeast corner block. Two main parts of this block were identified some years ago. However, it proved impossible to join or stabilize them separately without completing the missing middle piece. This piece put a lot of stress on our master stonemason, Mustafa Sir, who had to prepare a block using the pantograph that had to fit to two different pieces at the same time.
Part of the team continued to work during the weekend in order to complete the horizontal connections of the fourth row and prepare the ashlars of the three top courses of the cella walls. We hope to start the new week with the installation of the fifth row of ashlars.
The Antonine Nymphaeum on the Upper Agora
The engineer responsible for this anastylosis project, Semih Ercan, returned to Belgium to see his family, so no crane operations were carried out this week. Instead many blocks were completed or joined for placement the week ahead. Our stone carvers Sinan Ilhan and Eva Leplat, assisted by Mehmet Özkavak, continued to carve missing elements of some of the Corinthian capitals and bead-and-reel decorations of the completely new second archivolt. The completely new Corinthian capital of the structure was also finished. At the same time, during the early rather cool hours of the day, the surface of all blocks was treated with a Wacker wash in order to protect them against weathering.