In October the first U.S. exhibition of ancient Roman mosaic pavements from the national museums of Tunisia opened at the Getty Villa. The exhibition, Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa; Masterpieces from the National Museums of Tunisia, is a collaboration between the Getty Conservation Institute, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP), Tunisia.
The exhibition was inspired by the GCI's partnership with the INP to train regional teams of skilled technicians throughout Tunisia to address basic maintenance and stabilization needs of in situ archaeological mosaics (see Conservation, vol. 17, no. 1). Since 1998, INP technicians from three regions in Tunisia (Northeast, Central, and East Coast) have participated in the training, which has been carried out principally at the sites of Utica, Thuburbo Majus, Makhtar, Nabeul, Jebel Oust, and Hergla.
Stories in Stone features twenty-six of the finest ancient Roman mosaic pavements from Tunisia's collections. Created between the second and sixth centuries to embellish homes and public buildings, the mosaics on view are organized around four principal themes: nature, theater and spectacle, myths and gods, and conservation/technique. Each mosaic is displayed with information on its meaning, historical context, and original site information, when known. In addition, visitors can learn about efforts to conserve these ancient works both in situ and in museums.
Stories in Stone is on view at the Getty Villa through April 30, 2007. For more information, please visit the Getty Web site.