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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The statue fragments in their boxes from the 2004 season are taken back to the excavation house for their final reassembly and conservation

The lower part of the Aphrodite and, in background, parts of the Poseidon statues in their sandbox for conservation

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

Statue Conservation: July 17-21, 2005

This season, the marble statues of Poseidon, a satyr, and Aphrodite found during excavation of the Hadrianic nymphaeum in 2003 will be conserved (see excavation reports of 2003, Hadrianic Nymphaeum). The conservation will involve many phases, especially cleaning and reassembling.

The team is directed by Eric Risser (Getty Museum, USA), assisted by conservator Nerina da Silva (London and Sri Lanka) and by conservation student Melih Ekinci (Istanbul University). Semra Magele, who is preparing a doctoral dissertation on the sculpture of Sagalassos, also helps them. The statues are preserved to different degrees and all consist of multiple fragments. In order to assure the best possible reassembly, including the reintegration of the greatest amount of ancient material, the first phase involves the dry-assembly of the known fragments in order to identify the missing areas. Once identified, the great number of marble fragments found in the Nymphaeum can be checked against these missing areas to identify possible joining fragments.

Because of limited space, initial work has focused on the statues of Aphrodite and Poseidon. In the case of Aphrodite, whose body was broken into three large fitting fragments, the entire left arm, as well as many fragments from the front and back outer hip sections have been identified. In addition, the position for structural dowels was decided for the lower, larger body section, and the holes to receive the dowels were drilled into both sides of the join. With reference to the Poseidon and satyr statues, their reassembly will be slightly more difficult because the weight-bearing legs are not complete. Even so, some important small fragments of the Poseidon's legs have been found, helping to lessen the voids. Accordingly, several of these leg fragments, as well as those making-up the staff of the trident were prepared for rejoining with the application of a reversible acrylic primer to the join surfaces.

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