In May and June 2018 the GCI Herculaneum Project team carried out a field campaign in the tablinum of the House of the Bicentenary with two main objectives: cleaning the wall paintings in the tablinum of the house, and planning the Phase II environmental monitoring and climate improvement strategies. The project, funded in part by the GCI Council, is a collaboration with the Archaeological Park of Herculaneum (Pa-Erco) and the Herculaneum Conservation Project (HCP).
GCI team members have been working with Italian conservators from the CBC Conservazione Beni Culturali to develop innovative cleaning methods and materials to reduce an accumulation of atmospheric pollutants, coatings, paraffin, and degraded beeswax applied in previous maintenance interventions, which have contributed to deterioration of the wall paintings. The team has developed a system using rigid solvent gels to reduce the wax and remove the surface accumulation.
Planning for the environmental monitoring ing and climate improvement strategies was carried out in collaboration with staff from the HCP, Pa-Erco, and external Italian consultants to assess the viability of the existing monitoring system and discuss modifications to the system to aid in the development of appropriate strategies for stabilizing the tablinum's environment. Currently, the HCP and Pa-Erco are conducting stabilization operations in other parts of thehouse, including roof repairs and modifications, stabilization of walls, and stabilization of wall paintings and mosaic pavement. The combined efforts of the GCI, HCP, and Pa-Erco aim to address conservation issues in the house, developing methods and materials for treatment and monitoring to ensure the long-term preservation of the house with a view to reopening it to the public following conservation.