Τετάρτη, 2 Ιουνίου 2010

Ancient Greek statues restored with laser developed in Crete

Ancient Greek statues restored with laser developed in Crete
The innovative Greek know-how has played an important role in the fine conservation and restoration of the Ancient Greek statues and artefacts in Acropolis before they were exposed at the New Acropolis Museum.

Specialized technicians cleaned the grand relieves at the restoration laboratory in the Acropolis with a new laser developed in Crete; what the hi tech Englishmen didn’t manage to do after so many years of storing the marbles of the Acropolis, was achieved due to the inspiration and love of the Greeks, within a small period of time.
The Institute of Technology and Research to preserve the Acropolis Statues
Since 1995, the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser of the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (ITE) has been cooperating with the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments in order to implement an innovative cleaning system for the Parthenon frieze.
This choice was made for the safe and controlled removal of incrustation from the surface of the monuments and marbles.
The director of the Department of Electronic Structure, Dr Fotakis revealed that scientists had discovered that during the conventional laser removal, selective vaporization of the dark encrustations on the marble surface was altering the absorption spectrum of the remaining encrustations.
This is what caused the yellow discoloring on the ancient Greek statues and marbles.
The new laser developed in Crete
The innovation refers to the use of two laser beams of infrared and ultraviolet rays simultaneously; the two wavelength method (one ultra red at 1,064nm and an ultraviolet at 355nm) is able to remove the yellow discoloring appearing on the frieze surface.
The scientists have been thoroughly researching and comparing the different cleaning methods used in several different monuments and marbles. The new method was used for the first time during 2002-2005 to clean some of the Acropolis Statues and parts of the temple of Athena – Nike and the Erechtheion.
The laser method developed in Crete allowed the scientists to remove unwanted layers from the surface, in a method that takes place in discrete steps; the four sculptures of the Parthenon frieze, the upper part of the Caryatid (F) and four parts of the Acropolis frieze.
The project will continue with the cleaning and restoration of the statues of all four Caryatids.
Mr Fotakis denoted that this technology was transferred to France, where it was used to restore a monastery.
All the tests were perfectly successful and the cooperation with the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments will continue. Among the plans is the creation of a lab for the conservation of paintings, in collaboration with the Greek National Gallery
From: creteGazette

Divers Explore Sunken Ruins Of Cleopatra's Palace

Divers Explore Sunken Ruins Of Cleopatra's Palace
by The Associated Press


ALEXANDRIA, Egypt May 25, 2010, 02:01 pm ET
Plunging into the waters off Alexandria Tuesday, divers explored the submerged ruins of a palace and temple complex from which Cleopatra ruled, swimming over heaps of limestone blocks hammered into the sea by earthquakes and tsunamis more than 1,600 years ago.
The international team is painstakingly excavating one of the richest underwater archaeological sites in the world and retrieving stunning artifacts from the last dynasty to rule over ancient Egypt before the Roman Empire annexed it in 30 B.C.
Using advanced technology, the team is surveying ancient Alexandria's Royal Quarters, encased deep below the harbor sediment, and confirming the accuracy of descriptions of the city left by Greek geographers and historians more than 2,000 years ago.
Since the early 1990s, the topographical surveys have allowed the team, led by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, to conquer the harbor's extremely poor visibility and excavate below the seabed. They are discovering everything from coins and everyday objects to colossal granite statues of Egypt's rulers and sunken temples dedicated to their gods.


The team painstakingly excavated one of the richest underwater archaeological sites in the world and retrieved artifacts from the last dynasty to rule over ancient Egypt before the Roman Empire annexed it in 30 B.C.
"It's a unique site in the world," said Goddio, who has spent two decades searching for shipwrecks and lost cities below the seas.
The finds from along the Egyptian coast will go on display at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute from June 5 to Jan. 2 in an exhibition titled "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt." The exhibition will tour several other North American cities.
Many archaeological sites have been destroyed by man, with statues cut or smashed to pieces. Alexandria's Royal Quarters — ports, a cape and islands full of temples, palaces and military outposts — simply slid into the sea after cataclysmic earthquakes in the fourth and eighth centuries. Goddio's team found it in 1996. Many of its treasures are completely intact, wrapped in sediment protecting them from the saltwater.
"It's as it was when it sank," said Ashraf Abdel-Raouf of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who is part of the team.


A recently excavated statuette of a boy Pharaoh dating from the 4th or 5th century B.C.
Tuesday's dive explored the sprawling palace and temple complex where Cleopatra, the last of Egypt's Greek-speaking Ptolemaic rulers, seduced the Roman general Mark Antony before they committed suicide upon their defeat by Octavian, the future Roman Emperor Augustus.
Dives have taken Goddio and his team to some of the key scenes in the dramatic lives of the couple, including the Timonium, commissioned by Antony after his defeat as a place where he could retreat from the world, though he killed himself before it was completed.
They also found a colossal stone head believed to be of Caesarion, son of Cleopatra and previous lover Julius Caesar, and two sphinxes, one of them probably representing Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII.
Divers photographed a section of the seabed cleared of sediment with a powerful suction device. Their flashlights glowing in the green murk, the divers photographed ruins from a temple to Isis near Cleopatra's palace on the submerged island of Antirhodos.
Among the massive limestone blocks toppled in the fourth century was a huge quartzite block with an engraving of a pharaoh. An inscription indicates it depicts Seti I, father of Ramses II.


Pottery excavated from the site. The team has discovered everything from coins and everyday objects to colossal granite statues of Egypt's rulers and sunken temples dedicated to their gods.
"We've found many pharaonic objects that were brought from Heliopolis, in what is now Cairo," said Abdel-Raouf. "So, the Ptolemaic rulers re-used pharonic objects to construct their buildings."
On the boat's deck, researchers displayed some small recent finds: imported ceramics and local copies, a statuette of a pharaoh, bronze ritual vessels, amulets barely bigger than a fingernail, and small lead vessels tossed by the poor into the water or buried in the ground as devotions to gods.
Alexandria's Eastern Harbor was abandoned after another earthquake, in the eighth century, and was left untouched as an open bay — apart from two 20th century breakwaters — while modern port construction went ahead in the Western Harbor. That has left the ancient Portus Magnus undisturbed below.
"We have this as an open field for archaeology," Goddio said.