Germany Donates €10 Million And Team Of Experts To Save Pompeii

Sat, 09/07/2013 - 06:30

Germany is providing €10 million and a team of experts to help rescue Pompeii from decline. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii has attracted adverse global attention in recent years because various structures have collapsed. There is international concern that the archaeological site is falling into disrepair as the result of vandalism, structural damage and a lack of qualified staff. In January 2013, UNESCO issued a report highlighting a lack of maintenance and followed that up in June with a warning to the Italian government that it had to the end of the year to halt the decline. Italian officials announced a €105 million conservation project funded by the Italian government and European Union. Germany has announced it aims to help save Pompeii via the Pompeii Sustainable Preservation Project. The 10-year, €10-million project aims to carry out the kind of superior quality research and conservation essential to such an endeavour. Researchers from the Technische Universität München (TUM), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics) and the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property attached to UNESCO will investigate long-term solutions to prevent Pompeii “from falling further into ruin.” The researchers will concentrate on one of Pompeii’s apartment buildings, known as an insula. From 2014, they will embark on an ambitious conservation programme, taking in everything from murals to walls. Professor Erwin Emmerling of TUM’s Chair of Restoration said: “The first step will be drainage, followed by new types of protective structures.” An important new approach is preventive restoration. Emmerling said: “To date, this has not been undertaken on an adequate scale. We want to find out more about ongoing restoration.” Researchers will use lime and other traditional building materials for restoration but will turn to nanotechnology to make the lime more fluid, thus stabilising the frescoes through backfilling. Experts intend to conserve the topmost layer of the paintings using lime and silicon compounds. Surveys of the ancient city will be conducted both on the ground and through aerial photographs. Seismic measurements will provide information on how Pompeii could be impacted by future seismic activity, helping to ensure that the conserved structures will withstand such tremors. Suitable sites within Pompeii will also be landscaped.