The Northwest Heroon
During the past weeks of the Northwest Heroon restoration, supervised by Ebru Torun with Tom Verbist, preparations were made to build the three rows above the dancing girls frieze. Stones belonging to this section of the monument were each prepared for their final positioning and temporarily placed back in a trial setup. The information gained from this trial has been studied over the past week to resolve questions about the appropriate levelling of each block. The new orthostats with dancing girl replicas had to be retouched to compensate for the slight outward inclination of the upper rows. This was done according to a precise study of the top surfaces of the original blocks in the Burdur Museum for any ancient levelling adjustment. By week's end, the first row of stones immediately above the frieze was placed back on the east facade, while on the south and west facade only a few more adjustments are needed to be able to complete this first course. On the north side, the three layers above the frieze are all in place and fixed except for some corner blocks. During the following week(s), all three layers above the frieze on the building's east, south, and west sides should be completed, after which the stylobate blocks, the floor level of the naiskos--can be temporarily put in place for a first time.
The Antonine Nymphaeum
Work on this nymphaeum dating to the reign of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 160-181)--supervised by Semih Ercan assisted by Özge Basagac, Serpil Uyar, and Emrah Kosgeroglu--continued for its fourth week. This week's focus was on the first, second, and fourth arch in the building's back wall of the building, and on the architraves and columns. The missing arch block of the fourth (easternmost arch) was carved from a fresh piece of marble. After the replacement was set, the arch could be completed. The final step in this process is the carving of the decoration (a Lesbian cymatium and several rows of bead-and-reel) onto the new block. The decoration carved on the new block is more abstract in order to differentiate it from the originals. As a principle, after the carving is finished new blocks will harmonize with the original ones, but when examined carefully they can be distinguished. New blocks and the missing pilaster capital have been carved for the second arch following the same principle. Meanwhile, the additions to the broken blocks of the first arch were carved from Afyon marble. Once they were joined with epoxy and fiberglass rods, Eva Leplat began carving the decoration bands onto the finished blocks. The broken columns had been completed with new marble blocks in the previous week. The excess parts were cut off and the columns were prepared for final finishing. Replacements for two missing column bases, carved from new Afyon marble in the stone quarry, also arrived this week. Since the bases and their plinths were carved separately, they had to be assembled using epoxy and fibreglass rods. Profile drawings and plans were made as guides in order to cut the columns to the exact shape and dimensions. Stone carver Sinan Ilhan started to carve a second of the missing Corinthian capitals of the nymphaeum. The capital gradually takes shape as the form evolved from a simple marble cube to a cylindrical mass, which will eventually give way to the beautiful acanthus leaves. Helped by the Cappadocian stone carver team, Eva Leplat also continued her replica of one of the missing Corinthian capitals. Meanwhile, Paul Hostyn carried out some experiments in order to find an epoxy formula that does not change color under UV light. In addition to epoxy components and marble dust, water and white cement were also used in the mix. The experiment will solve many problems about the finishing of the stone blocks as well as the durability of epoxy.
Last week (see Restoration, July 11-15) the on-site conservation team, supervised by Paola Pesaresi, was joined by Gionnata Rizzi and structural engineer Giovanni Vercelli. They conducted a general evaluation of years of wall conservation and other on-site interventions. To prepare for the lifting of the ancient mosaics, Soner Bellibas created a new mosaic for testing. In caldarium 1 of the Roman Baths, a small part of the original hypocaustum floor will be rebuilt for presentation to the public. The marble slabs are lost, and we have now removed the completely cracked mortar substrate and the enormous terra-cotta slabs that supported it. The floor will be reconstructed after we conserve the heavily damaged round brick pillars which upheld the floor (slabs, substrate, and marble).
Small finds conservation
The small-finds conservation team--directed by Emine Kocak--includes Filiz Zeyveli, Canan Ustabay (Ankara University), Arzu Özmen, Melih Ekinci (Istanbul University), and Ines Vandewoestijne (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp), who is treating especially the glass finds, and Katleen Vandenbranden (City of Maastricht, The Netherlands), who deals with metal. Every evening hundreds of artifacts come down from the site to the conservation lab and depots in the excavation house. After being registered by the depot managers and receive a first treatment the next day. Treatments differ from routine cleaning to extended treatment depending on whether or not finds were selected by the temsilci (the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism representative) to be sent to the museum of Burdur for storage or exhibition. Work is carried out following the principles of reversibility and minimal intervention: mechanical cleaning (chemicals are used only if absolutely necessary), stabilization/consolidation, joining, applying a protective layer if necessary, and proper storage (passive conservation). All steps are recorded. After treatment, objects are temporarily stored according to the type of material in the small conservation lab depot, waiting to be photographed, drawn, and studied by specialists. Ines and Katleen are working for, respectively, our glass (V. Lauwers) and metal specialists (N. Kellens), while other team members concentrate on coins, ceramics, wall plaster, or sculptural fragments. Once this work is completed, finds are permanently stored in our depots or go to the Burdur Museum. Every season we check old finds to guarantee their long-term preservation.