Conservation Planning and Implementation

Conservation Plan

A comprehensive conservation plan for the House of the Bicentenary has been developed in the context of work undertaken by the Herculaneum Conservation Project and the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum.

Structural stabilization of the house addresses physical repairs to the building, including reroofing different portions of the house to prevent the ingress of water from above, redirecting drainage away from the building, and implementing climate improvement strategies to buffer and stabilize the environment.

The plan for the conservation of the tablinum includes passive and remedial measures for the conservation of the wall paintings and the mosaic pavement, namely the stabilization of plaster and paint layers, reduction/removal of coatings, including wax, and aesthetic reintegration. The conservation of the mosaic pavement includes cleaning, filling of losses to tesserae and opus sectile elements, and removal of salts and biogrowth. Passive and remedial treatments have been developed and tested for implementation to address conservation issues of the wall paintings and mosaic pavement.


Conservation treatment of the wall paintings
Information from the literature review, scientific study, condition assessment, and environmental monitoring was compiled and synthesized, and treatment trials were carried out to develop appropriate preventive measures and remedial conservation methods.

The team developed methods and materials to stabilize delaminated plaster; remove or reduce accretions and previous coatings including wax; consolidate powdering plaster and pigment; reattach flaking paint; remove salts and unstable previous repair plasters where they are damaging to original material; and to fill and reintegrate losses as appropriate.

Treatment is being carried out in phases. The first phase, completed in fall 2015, addressed stabilization of the wall paintings. Injection grouting was used to fill cracks and voids, and stabilize delaminated plasters. Damaging previous cementitious plaster repairs were removed, where possible, as were salts and biogrowth. Powdering plaster and pigment were consolidated, and flaking paint was readhered.

The second phase of wall painting conservation will be carried out following structural stabilization of the building, which is currently underway. In this phase, the team will reduce/remove coatings including wax and other damaging or disfiguring materials used in previous interventions, followed by filling and reintegration of cracks and losses.

Training and capacity building
The project has contributed to the training of young conservation professionals through short and long-term internships. The project itself aims to provide an ongoing learning environment in which the methodological approach is presented.

Conservation treatment of the mosaic pavement
Conservation of the mosaic pavement will be carried out following treatment of the wall paintings. Treatment will include stabilization of tesserae and opus sectile elements, removal of biogrowth, cleaning, and minimal reintegration as necessary.

Page updated: November 2017