After investigating the effects of water on the mosaics it was decided that the delicate tesserae in room 5b and the room 6 corridor (are between the two shelter buildings) require protection from water flowing through the surface and possibly eroding the substructure. It was time to put our carpentry skills to good use and devise shelters to allow the rain to flow away from the mosaics. These would be produced from abandoned wood from previous projects – recycling! Simple timber frames were constructed with cross bracing and studs to ensure stability and then supported on the walls surround the mosaics. To ensure the temporary structures do not damage the delicate Roman walls, Plastazote (a protective black foam) is used to prevent damage and thin wooden boards were placed on top of that to spread the load. By lifting the covers up, airflow prevents a microclimate from forming and also allows visitors to view the mosaics during conservation.
We hope they will dry out a bit more without all of this august rain seeping through their previous covers. Environmental monitoring is taking place within the shelters to allow accurate assessment of the condition of the mosaics as they dry. This should prevent any shock from fast drying periods once the structure is built this winter. Slower is better, so we started now!
Enjoy the photos of our conservators trying out their lumberjack skills!