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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The rebuilt arch above room XXVIII and the south wall of room XXIV above it
The new capping system in the southeastern part of the mansion, supervised by Bekir Bey (at right)
Ezra conserving the wall plaster on one of the piers in the Roman Baths' northern piered hall

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

On Site Restoration & Conservation: July 24-28, 2005

This week, the conservation team was supervised by Bekir Eskici (Ankara Yuksek Meslek Okulu) and Mehmet Koyuturk. The Domestic Area, with the catastrophic and chaotic condition of its ruins, kept us busy. The new capping technique was applied on the walls of the magnificent reception hall and the twin rooms opening to it (see map Domestic Area, June 24-28). The technique proved to be simple and efficient especially at this northeastern part of the villa, where the remaining thick stone masonry had collapsed at level of the binding brick layers. At the final stage of the reconstruction of the vault in room XXVIII, we tackled the water isolation problem of the structure. The vault was covered with a waterproof mortar layer giving a slight inclination for rapid shedding of water. Now that the structure was securely rebuilt, the centering beneath that was used during the reconstruction could be removed. As a final touch, pointing at the inner surface of the vault as well as the walls of the room above (Room XXIV) was done. The west wall of the space above the vault (room XXIV, which was a waste disposal unit during the final stages of the villa's occupation) needed further support on the south end. For this, the collapsed portion of the wall there had to be elevated remaining faithful to the traces of the complex building phases of the Palatial Villa. The condition of the purple volcanic stone slabs of the staircase in Room XLIII, a corridor in the southern part of the house giving access to the upper floor level here, that were formerly protected with geo-textile and sand needed work. The plant roots that had covered the surface were cleared, geo-textile and sand was renewed to prevent further hazard. For a better presentation of this important feature of the house, the staircase was marked and covered with dry layers of brick. The excavation in Room XXXVI, the stepped corridor leading to the reception hall, and in courtyard XLV north of it, could be carried out safely by means of the temporary timber supports, which hold the remains of the arches and allow the workers to excavate underneath. For further, permanent consolidation solutions we will have to wait until the excavations reach the floor level. As the excavation proceeded this week, more architectural remains were exposed, such as the walls of the shop at Macellum and the Roman Baths, and had to be scheduled into our program.

The decision to use the mortar mix developed by our geologists (following the mortar mix used in antiquity) has certainly been the right choice. The lime mortar which has only gravel aggregate and pumice to give it hydraulic properties, has the right texture, color, consistency, and application friendliness along with its mechanical properties and durability against the harsh weathering conditions at Sagalassos. The new pointing method, which is practical and less time consuming, and the new capping technique devised for flat wall tops, have had positive affects on the work as well as on the motivation of the entire site conservation team. That the team of conservators and students from the Ankara Yuksek Meslek Okulu, actually joins in the work together with the workmen at the same level and with a constant exchange of mutual views has contributed enormously to the efficiency of the work.

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