The conservators have now arrived on site and are ready to begin the process. Greetings! We begin this week with a full condition survey of all of the newly excavated mosaics. While looking at old photographs of these floors from previous work, we can get an idea of how much the mosaics have changed over the past few decades since the last time they were seen.
By looking at the state of the mosaics with a close visual inspection, now that the archaeologists have given them a decent clean, we are marking the types of damage we see. By using photographs as maps, each tessera can be inspected for damage or changes over time. It’s a bit like those newspaper puzzles where you try to spot the difference between two “identical” images! After all of this survey information is gathered, we can then analyse the information to get a better idea of what happens next:
Are the mosaics in fairly good condition or in need of serious treatment?
Are some areas more of a concern than others? – this will tell us where to start first!
Have there been many changes to the mosaics since they were uncovered in 2000?
Which treatment techniques are best suited to the specific issues we have found?
How many different techniques are required to stabilize all of the mosaics?
These are some of the questions we will be answering with the condition survey data over the next few days. We will keep you posted as we progress, and give a bit of insight into the process of answering these types of conservation questions at a site. For now, it’s back on site to compare the old photographs to the real thing…