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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The southeast corner of the NW Heroon
Copying a missing stone by means of a pantograph
Completing a column base from the Antonine Nymphaeum

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

Restoration & Conservation: July 6-12, 2003

The NW Heroon

This honorific monument, dedicated to a prominent figure of the city and built in Augustan times (25 B.C.-A.D. 14), is being restored thanks to the generous help of the Belgian Dexia Bank and Arcopan Group. Our team is composed of young and very active people. Because of the pregnancy of the chief architect involved in this anastylosis building (i.e. rebuilding with original elements and only replacing missing stones where this is structurally necessary) our activities here have been limited to four weeks, ending this week.

The beautiful frieze of dancing girls has been freed of its winter protection. It is now composed of copies, as the originals are on display in the Burdur Museum, which will soon open. The inside of the socle which they compose has been filled in with mortared rubble, as had been the case in antiquity. Next year, this platform will support the temple-like structure (or naiskos), with the statue of the hero worshiped here. A new study of the naiskos blocks indicated that almost nothing was missing of the latter. Also, it turned out that it was not a distylos in antis (two columns set between projecting side walls), but a tetrastyle prostylos (four columns set in front of the cella) shrine built in the Corinthian order.

The Antonine Nymphaeum

This monumental fountain located on the north side of the Upper Agora and dated to the reign of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180), one of four thus far at Sagalassos, has been undergoing restoration for the past five years thanks to the help of the KBC Banking Company and to the L.Baert-Hofman Fund. In previous years, we restored its podium and a great part of its polychrome back wall, following the principles of anastylosis, replacing missing parts by similar elements made of the original or a very similar stone instead of concrete or other artificial materials. The stones are carved by making a plaster cast of the missing element first and then copying it in the original stone by means of a pantograph, a rectangular grid with four legs, to which moving compasses are fixed. During last week most of this work was applied to the columns of fountain and to its column bases. We also glued small broken fragments to the original capitals. Preparation of the anastylosis activities also included drawing the bottoms of some cornice blocks by a team of architecture students.

The Conservation Activities

The extreme differences between winter (seven months of frost cycles, rain and snow) and summer (high temperatures, mostly dry) conditions, make the conservation of the mortared rubble and brick walls at Sagalassos a real challenge. Last week a team of on site conservators started to mount scaffolds at various locations in order to start activities of pointing, repairing, and capping. This was done in close collaboration with safety managers.

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