Statue Conservation: August 7-11, 2005
This week Erik Risser (Getty Museum), Nerina da Silva, Semra Mägele (University of Cologne and doctoral fellow at the KULeuven) and Melih Ekinci (ITU Istanbul) made a tremendous effort to complete three of the statues found inside the collapsed Hadrianic Nymphaeum above the Lower Agora, even sacrificing half of their weekend. The reassembled Aphrodite was treated for a week to remove as much as possible of the calcite deposit on the surface. The remaining accretions may have to be removed mechanically using the air abrasive system. The left arm was both pinned and joined with adhesive. This arm had already been repaired after it had been broken in antiquity. Eventually, the arm was not joined to the statue because of its awkward position. It will be studied again next season and joined in the museum.
|Left, calcite deposits are removed from the Aphrodite statue's surface. Right, the Poseidon statue holds a trident in the left and a sea horse in the right hand.
The focus of this week's work was on the satyr statue, which proved to be more complicated than at first realized. Missing sections of the right calf and upper thigh were looked for in the boxes of fragments, but unfortunately not found. It was evident that the statue originally was depicted with a support shaped like a tree-trunk, was subsequently found in several pieces among the sculptural fragments of the Nymphaeum. It helps to complete the statue and to stabilize the leg, which is joined to it along the length of its back surface. After the pinning of all smaller fragments to form larger pieces, the final step in the reassembly was made by suspending the upper torso section over the lower body. The height of the gaps was determined; pins and sleeves in both right calf and left upper thigh section were plotted at the same time.
After the reassembly, the statues of Poseidon and satyr were removed from the sandbox and positioned beside the statue of Aphrodite. Both statues require only surface cleaning for about a day. They clearly were carved by the same workshop. Compared to the workmanship of the Aphrodite, they are of an exquisite quality and present a very elegant posture. Marble samples have been taken in order to determine scientifically the provenance of the marble. A Docimian origin seems likely for the marble, but even for the workshop in view of the activity of several Docimian sculptors at Sagalassos during the second century A.D.
The very last evening of the week the team's efforts were rewarded, when all possible pieces were joined. The statues can now be taken to the Burdur Museum for a temporary display. The gaps between the joins and the missing parts will be completed there next season. At 7 p.m. Thursday evening, the whole conservation team could drink a glass of champagne and start an evening full of festivities before Eric's departure to Italy.