Zizola, C.

1999

In: Proceedings of the VII Triennial International Meeting on Conservation of Mosaics, Arles: ICCM.

During 1994 the CCA, Centro di Conservazione Archeologica, carried out the in situ conservation of the mosaic floors of the Bizantine  Church (Western Church) in the nabatean town of  Mamshit in the Negev Desert. This was a polichrome mosaic of about 80 square meters with geometrical, figurative decorations plus three inscriptions. The two months intervention on site was carried out by a team of 8 conservators and was implemented by using lime based techniques of in situ consolidation. A detailed documentation was carried out to record the consistency of the mosaic, the state of conservation, the treatments carried out.
When the intervention was almost completed the entire church was vandalized one night. The mosaic was heavily damaged and almost all figures and inscriptions destroyed. Local authorities immediately decided to answer with a strong political message and decided for a complete reconstruction of the mosaic. This was possible thanks to the accurate documentation carried out during the conservation intervention. The remaining mosaic was partially lifted, shipped to Rome, restored (or better re-made) and, after two years work, it was brougth back and relayed on site. This paper describes all those phases and concludes presenting the actual programme for future protection and maintenance on the monument.