The Northwest Heroon
The Heroon team sponsored by the Group Arco (Belgium) and directed by arch. Ebru Torun (KULeuven) celebrated the end of the painstaking task of filling up the core of the monument using lime mortar and rubble stones. A serious volume--40 cubic meters--was filled up, taking care that no unstable gaps were left that could cause a later settling of the fill. The top 15 cm of the rubble fill will be covered with 7-15 mm washed limestone gravel that will serve as an easy to handle bedding for the stylobate slabs, as well as a good drainage beneath these stones preventing pooling and frost damage.The team also started preparing the plinth of the naiskos. The stone carvers have completed two missing elements of it. As the end of the season approaches, the architects concentrated on the documentation and the assessment of the work accomplished this summer. All 35 stone drawings made on polymere at a 1:1 scale were recorded digitally and the consolidations of the blocks were indicated on the drawings. Next week efforts will concentrate on replacing the stylobate slabs and the plinth of the naiskos.
The Antonine Nymphaeum
This week was the last week of the restoration of the Antonine Nymphaeum sponsored by the KBC Bank and Insurances (Belgium), the L.Baert-Hofman Fund (Belgium) and Renier Natuursteen (Aarschot, Belgium) and supervised by engineer Semih Ercan (KULeuven). Despite the fact that only part of the team continued (some of the stone carvers and the crane left us during the week for other jobs), this week really crowned nine weeks of painstaking efforts to test the composition of the marvelous structure. Not only could we close the conch on the central niche of the building, but we also were able to put back into place the triangular gable of the fifth aedicula (tabernacle) from the left, decorated with a Medusa head. A similar head also fills the central part of the cassette in the ceiling of this aedicula. By Thursday morning--after the departure of the crane borrowed from the Antalya Museum, to which we are extremely grateful, and its skillful operator Ali Koc--the scaffolding that had hidden our work for weeks was removed, leaving us with one of the most wonderful views to be seen at Sagalassos. The impression left by this view is full of promises for the future and leaves no doubt that together with the nearby NW Heroon, one is reconstructing here one of the future eye-catchers of Turkish cultural tourism.
On site conservation
This week the on site conservation team, sponsored by the S.H.Kress Foundation (U.S.A.) and directed by architect Paola Pesaresi (U.S.A.), started to place back into position some of the ashlar blocks belonging to the Trajanic terrace wall with its street fountain in the northeast corner of the Lower Agora. Conservation architect Robert Pilbeam (Canada) joined the team and he is mainly working on this project. The stones were numbered as they were excavated during the 2001 and 2002 campaigns and stored in different platforms. Our work this year involves identifying the suitable blocks based on their excavated location in relation to the remaining wall. We have been cross checking the identification numbers with pictures and drawing of the excavation. The shape of the original rubble backfill of the ashlars that is still in situ has given the final confirmation of their correct position. We are now mostly working on the northern portion of the wall next to the street fountain, where five layers of stone blocks were missing as a result of the seventh century A.D. earthquake. The layer immediately below the cornice originally contained limestone busts of Hermes and Heracles that have been cast during the 2003 campaign. The replicas have been brought on site and Rossella Buganza has been working on their surface finishing, applying an artificial patina for chromatic integration with the original stones. While the first layer of stones has been mostly completed this week, some of the blocks of the layer with the reliefs have also already been positioned.
Conservators Rossella Buganza and Dario Guerini are completing the detachment of the mosaic floor of the Domestic Area while consolidating plasters and marble revetment in the recently excavated area of the Roman Baths. The early Christian fresco in room XLIII of the palatial mansion of the Domestic Area has been treated with a special herbicide used in conservation to eliminate roots without staining the surfaces. A careful process of mortar injections was initiated in order to bind the detached plaster surface to the masonry support.