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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The south side of the palatial mansion, where the site conservation team has almost completed its task
Serdar applies isolation materials on the mortar surfaces for a better water resistance.
Ezra conserves a wall plaster section in the "northern six-piered hall" of the Roman Baths.

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

On Site Restoration & Conservation: July 31-August 4, 2005

Aided by the arrival of two additional workmen and one new architect, restoration student Figen Kivilcim (Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara), the site conservation team worked at full capacity. In the Domestic Area, capping of the thick walls of the upper floor's "representative" spaces was carried out, as well as structural repairs in other parts of the complex. Besides these crucial structural interventions, several new techniques to improve the resistance of building materials against the harsh weathering conditions were tried and documented. From the beginning of the campaign, documentation of all conservation activities on the site has been systematically handled and a consistent graphic representation of the analysis of the actual state and the mapping of all interventions have been developed and successfully applied throughout.

The architects were mainly busy repairing the corner pillars of the once vaulted superstructures of the reception hall (see Domestic Area map, room XXII) and the attached northern twin rooms (XXXI, XLIV) to prevent further disintegration. At the lower section of the house, the dangerously unstable west wall of room XXIV was further consolidated. Pointing was also carried out as a routine all over the Domestic Area.

Our conservators from Ankara University, directed by Bekir Eskici, evaluated several repair and consolidation techniques for vulnerable building materials. Different hydraulic mortar fills, appropriate for their color and consistency, were prepared for exposed cracks of tuff blocks and limestone. To further improve the water resistance of the core capping and the tuff blocks with a high water absorption capacity, we carried out and documented experimental applications. The north wall of room XLII was divided into four sections where ethyl silicate, Wacker OH, Isokap (natural silicone based solution), and Isokap with %50 MEC were applied separately. A Wacker OH solution was also applied onto a tuff block face. All such trials will be evaluated next year in terms of both their performance and their financial feasibility.

Grouting and injecting further stabilized the consolidated plaster fragments in the Roman Baths. More consolidation work has to be scheduled into our program here, as it seems likely that the excavation team will expose more patches of preserved plaster before they reach the floor level. Our team also had to take care of the newly exposed plastered sections of the western back wall of room 1 in the Macellum (see Macellum July 31-August 4, 2005). Another challenge was cleaning the inscription on a column base at the excavation of the Colonnaded Street, which was hardly legible as it was covered with lichen and plant roots.

Besides the obvious goal of preserving the remains on the site, the conservation team is also determined to define applicable frames of intervention that are not only effective and sustainable but also financially and practically feasible considering the scale of the excavations and the nature of the conservation activities. Since the beginning of the campaign much effort was given to determine the mainframe and principles for architectural and structural interventions, as these were most urgently needed. This week more solutions were developed for most commonly encountered problems at the material deterioration and fine conservation level.

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