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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Selcuk Sener (left) and Mehmet Koyuturk (right) discussion their interventions.

The reconstructed vault above room XXVIII of the palatial mansion

Serdar treating edges of wall plaster still attached to a pier in the north hall of the Roman Baths

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

On Site Restoration & Conservation: July 17-21, 2005

This week, the site conservation team from Ankara, supervised by Selcuk Sener and Mehmet Koyuturk, again concentrated on the palatial mansion in the Domestic Area. As our methods and materials have proven satisfactory, the common mortar repairs such as pointing, reinforcing, reconstructing, and capping were carried on with efficiency.

The reconstruction of the vault in room XXVIII (see plan), which had been dismantled as it was about to collapse, was brought to its final stage with the consolidation of the wall parts above and preparations for closing up. The doorway to courtyard XXV, as well as the brick pillars of the courtyard's southern arcade, needed urgent consolidation. The north part of the doorway was seriously displaced, which was clearly caused by water penetration from the top. It had to be partly dismantled after detailed documentation and rebuilt according to the original masonry composition. It was given a proper capping to prevent further water penetration.

After thorough discussions, a new method was developed for capping flat wall tops. The current method of capping stone masonry walls, which is achieved by elevating the masonry's rubble core, is not applicable for flat wall tops where the core is not exposed. The new technique comprised of several thin layers of lime mortar into which a bituminous membrane is embedded. Polycarbonate netting is used to reinforce the mortar layers that are applied onto the wall top with a slight inclination for controlled shedding of water. The capping is finished laying a final row of bricks or stones according to the original masonry order.

[image]One of the walls covered with the
new protective capping system

Additionally, at the Domestic Area, the conservation had to take measures to preserve an original plaster layer on the west wall of room XV, protecting the edges of the plaster with hydraulic lime mortar and Malta 6002.

As the excavations proceeded through their second week, several urgent interventions were also required in newly exposed areas. One of these was the arch on the northern part of room XXXVI in Domestic Area (see Domestic Area - July 17-21, 2005). The arch was unstable from loss of material and needed to be supported in a way that would not block digging. For this purpose, horizontal timber elements were used rather than vertical supports, re-establishing the load distribution of the arch to keep it in place.

The other urgent intervention was in Roman Baths, where two walls with preserved patches of plaster layers were uncovered. The earth on the surface of the plaster was cleared and it was bordered with hydraulic lime mortar. Primal AC 33 was injected for adhering the plaster to the wall. As a temporary consolidation Paraloid B 72 was applied on the surface with the help of Japanese tissue.

This week gave the site conservation team the opportunity to further establish methods and to cope with the urgencies of the excavations while applying the initial programme of interventions. The excavation director is extremely satisfied with the efficient and professional way in which our new on site conservators from Ankara have been coped--as if they had always been there--with the challenges posed by the site and its difficult climate.

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