Conservation - The Wall Paintings of Tell el-Dab'a

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The consolidation of the wall paintings already began in 1990 with the recovery of the fragments during the excavation by Rudolfine Seeber, who was then the conservator in charge. Because of the large quantity of material, this process required several campaigns. Due to the humidity, the fragments had to be partly stabilised with Paraloid B 72 in the field, and were afterwards transported in a gypsum bed to the field lab, where they are currently stored in wooden boxes. Supported by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, different conservators, beneath Aris Gerontas and Giorgos Ballis, have been working since then on the conservation of the wall paintings.
The principle aim of the present work by Erico Peintner is to consolidate and conserve the material and to permit the archaeological study. Therefore, a consistent concept of conservation with specific procedures and appropriate selection of material was established, to ensure up to date standards. Individual pieces are in very different conditions, and their treatment has to be adapted to their respective state of preservation. As a first step, the recovery measures, as far as they are reversible, have to be removed. Concerning the plaster fragments that were stabilised with Paraloid, only about 20 percent of Paraloid could be extracted using acetone. Distorted fragments are straightened only if this will not result in a loss of original substance. Otherwise, the fragments are to be left in their current state. In general, considerate measures and a minimum of conservation material are used in order to preserve as much original substance as possible.

M. Bietak, N. Marinatos and C. Palyvou, Taureador Scenes in
Tell el-Dab’a (Avaris) and Knossos, UZK 27 (Vienna 2007) Fig.26d.
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