Monday, June 20, 2011

Visiting the Gordion Frescos

Our conservation season got off to a great start this week with a trip to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. This museum, housed in an historic bazaar building in Ankara, contains some of the best finds from the area's excavations including our own Gordion wooden furniture. Research still continues behind the scenes at the museum. Dr. Susanne Berndt-Ersöz has been researching and reassembling the Gordion fresco fragments excavated in the 1950s. These frescos were discovered in a small, partly subterranean building known as the Painted House and have been dated to 500-490 BCE. 

Reassembled fragments
1957 watercolor reconstruction by Piet de Jong

Most of the fragments are currently housed in small, acidic paper boxes. These boxes are harmful to the fragments and do not allow the reassembled pieces to be stored together. Elizabeth Drolet, one of our 2010 interns, worked on a rehousing plan over the past year. We went to evaluate the fresco's condition and discuss the plan with Dr. Berndt-Ersöz. We were excited to see these much talked about frescos in person!

Latif Özen, our friend and colleague at the museum, also took us on a tour to see the museum's conservation laboratory. There are a dozen or more conservators that work in the laboratory and almost half of the them of scientists. Latif, a chemical engineer, has been analyzing the fresco pigments using their new portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometer. This instrument is non-destructive and can determine what elements are present without taking a sample. We hope to hear more about the analysis in the near future and will keep you posted!

Latif and Lily in the museum's conservation laboratory

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