: Conservation

Introducing our Conservation II: First Aid for Finds Workshop

The importance of conservation for heritage preservation and management cannot be overstated. Conservation of cultural heritage is not merely about preserving physical objects; it is about safeguarding the messages and values embedded within them.

To delve deeper into this vital field, we are thrilled to announce our new workshop, Conservation II: First Aid for Finds.

This workshop, scheduled for 12-14 April 2024, is an online training program that allows participants from around the globe to engage in an immersive learning experience.

Conservation aims to maintain both the physical and cultural characteristics of an object, ensuring that its intrinsic value remains undiminished over time.

Led by Dr. Alexis Stefanis, Assistant Professor at the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art at the University of West Attica, it will focus on providing step-by-step instructions on the best practices for caring for freshly excavated archaeological and historic objects. Moreover, it will address the delicate task of preserving objects belonging to collections that have been recently damaged, as well as offering insights into administering first aid measures to architectural heritage.

Throughout the workshop, participants will delve into essential processes, including preparation, application of treatments, and monitoring. Dr. Stefanis, with his wealth of experience in research projects and numerous publications on conservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of architectural heritage, will guide participants through these intricate procedures.

Find out more information and apply here by 31 March 2024.

**This workshop accompanies our Conservation I: Introduction to the General Principles of Cultural Heritage Conservation workshop that will take place in May 2024.


Launching a new Conservation Workshop!

HERITΛGE is happy to announce the launch of a new introductory conservation workshop, designed to equip heritage professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to extend the life of cultural heritage while enhancing the transmission of its messages and values.

Conservation is critical to preserving the physical and cultural characteristics of heritage objects, and ensuring their value is not diminished. Our new 3-day introductory course provides an overview of the principles and objectives of conservation, outlining its methodology, ethics, evolution, and contemporary international context.

“This course is an introduction to the principles of conservation and as such, it is a unique opportunity for our organization to place conservation at the heart of heritage management,” said HERITΛGE Director, Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis.

Led by Alexis Stefanis, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art of the University of West Attica, Greece, the HERITΛGE conservation workshop is a unique opportunity for heritage professionals to place conservation at the heart of heritage management.

By the end of the course, participants will have gained an understanding of the potential of conservation, and the processes necessary to maximize it. Funding opportunities are available for eligible participants.

Find out more about the workshop, funding opportunities, and the application process here.

Community engagement through archaeological ethnography: learning in situ with a field school in Gonies Maleviziou, Crete.

Philioremos means ‘friend of the solitary’. And when on top of this Minoan peak sanctuary, which dates back to c.1800BC, you can feel why. A hill much lower than the imposing Ida Mountains in the south, it nonetheless commands an impressive 360° view of the surrounding mountain valley. Standing on top, usually ducking to avoid the strong, cold wind, you have the impression of being at a distance from everything. The sounds of sheep bells, fragments of speech, the howl of the wind, a passing car in the distance, a dog barking somewhere, village bells, gradually surround you and make you turn inside, to the sound of your beating heart and your panting breath. It is a sense of solitude that contrasts the criss-crossing networks and flows of people, objects, animals, memories, stories, and official bodies that make up this site. These immaterial flows often make no sound that can be picked up in the natural soundscape of the area. But as one draws near the village, the fragments of sound turn into a profusion of voices.
Gonies used to be a large and strong village up until the 1960s. It is now home to less than 180 inhabitants, mostly elderly. Walking its narrow alleys, may give a first impression of abandonment. Getting to know its people, the Goniotes, however, begins to tell a story of resilience.
We got to know this place through the archaeological lens. Invited to do ethnography as part of the “Three Peak Sanctuaries of Central Crete” archaeological project (https://www.facebook.com/ThreePeakSanctuariesProject/), we hoped to bring up the connections of this group of people with the Minoan past. Traces of human presence in the area since the deep prehistory abound: place names of antiquity, fragmented ancient material culture, important Minoan landmarks, all surround the daily lives of the Goniotes. It soon became evident that the locals were fully aware of the deep past of this place and expressed it in many ways. However, they did not draw a sense of identity from this past. The stories they tell of themselves are stories of mobility and settlement in the past few centuries. They know this place is ancient, but they do not believe they were always here. They are the current stewards of this place’s past rather than being a community of Minoan descent. To our persistent questions about the ancient past, they replied with more and more histories about recent events. This was what was important to them. So, the project gradually turned its attention to what the community wanted to know about itself, its history and heritage.
anemomilos gonies2
This shift of focus broadened the scope of our project and made it more inclusive of the community interests, as well as more participatory. In a sense, the community took control over the production of knowledge and turned it into a collective process. It is this collaborative venture that prompted us to create a field school that enables the locals to teach their own history and heritage to students from all over the world.
We opted for the form of a field school rather than a lecture-based one to open up the process of collective ethnographic learning. On a daily basis, students, scholars and locals share experiences, discussions, celebrations, mournings, and stories, for a month every summer since 2014, contributing this way to the creation of a community-controlled archive of knowledge.
The simple act of having a local point at a wall and tell its story, give a guided tour of the village, describe the process of recognising his own sheep from those of others, and commenting on the effects of urbanization and development, broadens the gamut of educators in the village. Everybody can be a teacher. The subjects discussed are chosen by the speakers themselves. We usually give prompts, discussing the subject of each year’s school with people in the village.
Locals impart knowledge we do not and cannot have, the embodied experience of dwelling in this landscape for decades. And we impart our own experience of dwelling in a space that is sustained by the pull of theoretical activity in academia and the realities of being in the field. Knowledge production, collaborative research is a more encompassing praxis. It involves talking to people, forging and maintaining relationships, resolving conflicts. For some people in the village, the summer school is a highlight of their seasonal life, an encounter they look forward to. An occasion when the village resonates with voices, when some houses in the neighbourhood have lights on again at night. We create a multidisciplinary space between history, archaeology, art, museum studies, archival research, and oral history that leads to incredibly rich research contexts.
From the very beginning, our work was geared towards improving the livelihood of the people in the village either directly or indirectly. In the first season of our field school (2014), we collaborated with the Technical University of Crete, Department of Social Work, to provide a detailed census of the medical provisions and the needs of the village inhabitants. This census helped the social services of the Malevizi Municipality to plan better the health care for the village inhabitants, who on a weekly basis visit the elderlies’ home (KAΠH), used for physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions, gatherings, creative activities and small feasts.
Simultaneously, during the first year of our field school, the archaeologist-artist Vasko Demou collaborated with us to implement a public art installation. It was based on ethnographic information provided by the locals about pastimes, landmarks and habitual practices, and gave us the opportunity to express this collectively created knowledge in forms beyond the conventional ethnographic ways.
This art installation, that took the form of a mapped itinerary in the village, was expanded in the following years into a trail that incorporated several interesting stops along the way, which reflected the embodied knowledge of the locals. Retracing the guided walks that the locals gave to us and the field school students, the trail was a way to transmit this knowledge to the visiting public. A communally created map was an opportunity for underplayed aspects of local heritage to be presented on an equal part with more male-dominated understandings of history when, for example, village ovens and the village’s springs were put alongside the heroic feats of 19th century brigands, thus creating discussion in the village about how exactly their heritage works.
Engaging the locals in the production and representation of ethnographic and archaeological knowledge finds fertile ground in community art projects, such as the one we implemented in 2015. The archaeologist Celine Murphy, specialising in Minoan clay figurines, in collaboration with the experienced potter Vasilis Politakis implemented a three-week workshop that involved locals and visitors in the collection, preparation and working of clay.
Within the framework of experimental archaeology, participants were asked to emulate the possible techniques used to make clay figurines. Embodied memory appeared to be a very important parameter of this workshop because a number of elderly Goniotes showed us the clay working techniques they used in their childhood in order to make their toys and utensils.
The artefacts created by the locals were presented in an open-air exhibition, which added to the already-existing path in the village, with the ultimate aim to turn the village into an open-air museum.
Art practice helps us create uncommon research situations by setting up hubs in the village that bring together individuals of different generations and backgrounds, and evoke embodied memories and techniques as well as personal narratives and stories, while they result in the creation of a communally produced work of art.
In 2016, the artist in residence, Aleka Karavela, and one of our former students and curator, Katerina Konstantinou, transformed a room in the abandoned school into an open studio with looms donated by the village. In the “loom project” men and women of all ages collectively weaved a cloth.
At the end of the field school, instead of making a presentation about the project’s outcome, we chose to put words to a traditional motif sung for the first time by Nathenoyannis and recorded in the village by the Swiss ethnomusicologist Samuel Baud Bovy in 1953-1954. This song was sung during the feast closing our research season in the village.
Alongside the weaving project, in the 2017 field season landscape was also a topic for exploration. Having experienced first-hand the locals’ relationship with their natural surroundings, we did not conceive landscape as a mere geographical space but as a cultural concept and a set of values significant to the local inhabitants. Some of the older ones, who know the area very well and have been walking it since childhood, gave our team a series of guided walks on what used to be the old paths that connected Gonies with the valley. In these walks we managed to acquire a sense of the landscape as a social and cultural construct modelled and embodied by the people who use it, live off of it and experience it on a daily basis. This unique natural, social and cultural entanglement helped us create a series of interpretive panels and signs, setting up a cultural heritage trail inspired by local knowledge and based on local narratives.
The ethnographic information we collected about knowledge on raw materials, techniques and local produce made us want to explore further the relationship of memory and material culture in the 2017 season. Memory in the village is often carried through material objects and artefacts. From a small handmade leather sack, the so-called sakadelo, that contains the utensils necessary to the shepherds’ everyday needs, spring not only objects but stories, reminiscences, sometimes even songs.
Unpacking the family trunk is like a stratigraphy of layered personal and historical memories. The 2017 season focused on exactly that: the materiality of things and their anchoring of memory.
Introducing, for the first time, visual documentation into the study of material culture and memory, we created a series of interviews on camera with the aid of our photographer in residence, Manolis Kandanoleon. This resulted in the creation of the community’s oral history archive, which we will continue to enrich in the following field school seasons.
Everything we collected this season relating to memories, visual images and material culture were great sources for the design of a small-scale exhibition as part of the closing ceremony of our field school. The exhibition comprised of various daily life objects kindly donated to us by the Goniotes, a number of oral narratives, artistic drawings and video projections.
There were times in the process of the exhibition design that it felt odd to be so self-referential, seemingly attempting to display to the village inhabitants elements familiar to them, closely relating to themselves and their lives. We often wondered what the purpose of such an exhibition would be, especially because our aim was not to simply display the tangible and intangible elements they shared with us but to present our ethnographic information and our experience of their own life experiences in new interpretive ways. Working and thinking in a self-reflexive manner is a core part of ethnographic research and thus it soon became clear to us that the exhibition could act as a field that voices the merge of our own contextualisation with the contexts that the locals communicate to us, relating to gender issues, love, emotion, belief, reminiscences, and practices.
Within the framework of Greek archaeological research, the fields of public/community archaeology and archaeological ethnography are two largely underdeveloped research arenas, mainly due to legal and institutional entanglements. Rather than perpetuate this problem, in the international field school we acknowledge local communities as integral constituents of the field, since they directly or indirectly influence our research questions as well as the processes and progress of our study. By co-producing and co-managing approaches of the ancient or more recent past with the local community, we end up with richer, less clinical, and more locally relevant results.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Community and the Cultural Association of Gonies, all the village inhabitants, our artists in residence and the participants in the field school. Without them, this project would not have been materialized and enriched, allowing us to further our engagement with the village community in the years to come.
Written by
University of Kent, The Heritage Management Organisation
Hellenic Open University, The Heritage Management Organisation
University of Kent, The Heritage Management Organisation

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Illegal trade in antiquities: a scourge that has gone on for millennia too long

Looting of artefacts has always been a sign of military might or economic power. Over millennia, conquering generals would take away with them trophies to adorn their cities. In more recent centuries, the wealthy upper classes would make “grand tours” of classical sites and acquire – through whatever means – anything from vases to statues to entire temple friezes to show off at home. Owning a piece of antiquity was seen as demonstrating wealth, a love of ancient culture and, ultimately, one’s own distinction: having things that nobody else could have.
At least this is what the looters thought. We should now all know the most apt way to describe this dubious form of collection – and it’s a word that has historical resonance: vandalism.
So many antiquities were stolen that they fill massive imperial museums in many of the world’s capital cities: the British museum, the Louvre, the Metropolitan, the Istanbul museum. These institutions continue to hold on to national treasures of other countries, claiming that they are international museums keeping the heritage of the world and making it available to everyone.
So it is with the Parthenon Marbles – one of the most controversial acts of vandalism of them all – held in the British Museum in London after being dubiously “acquired” by Thomas Bruce, Earl of Elgin in 1801, less than three decades before the independence of Athens from Ottoman rule.
The UK’s opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, recently stated that a Labour government would return the marbles to Greece. In a statement on June 3 he said:

As with anything stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession – including artefacts looted from other countries in the past – we should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures’

The traditional position for the British government on the Parthenon marbles is that it is up to the trustees of the British Museum to decide on the return of any artefacts in its collection. But, as the government is a key funder of the museum, it can surely wield a powerful influence on trustees’ decisions.
So the marbles have remained in London. And the antiquities trade is still going strong – not only depriving countries of their heritage, but, which is worse, depriving the world of the information that could be extracted with appropriate systematic excavation and reducing the artefacts into mere art pieces that can only be enjoyed in a stale museum context and not as both rich symptoms and teachers of the history of mankind.
Meanwhile, there is evidence that revenue from the sale of stolen antiquities looted in Syria and Iraq has been used to fund Islamic Stateand other terrorist groups – so one illegal activity has been connected to many others.

Fighting the trade

How are we to stop this trade, which is a scourge of historical knowledge, local pride and international sovereignty. The illicit trade in antiquities – and almost all trade of antiquities is illegal in some sense, as it almost always breaks the law of the source countries – is considered to be a common crime. In many countries there are police departments that are specialised in this type of crime. For example, the UK has the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit and in the US the FBI has a 16-person Art Crime Team.

The Mask of Warka, one of the earliest representations of a human face, was recovered in Iraq after being stolen from the National Museum in Baghdad during the 2003 US invasion.

In the UK, “Operation Bullrush” by the art and antiques unit successfully prosecuted dealer Jonathan Tokeley-Parry in 1997 for smuggling priceless antiquities out of Egypt (he was also sentenced in absentia in Egypt). Meanwhile in 2002 a US court convicted Frederick Schultz, the former president of the National Association of Dealers in Ancient, Oriental and Primitive Art, under the 1934 National Stolen Property Act (NSPA) of conspiracy to receive antiquities stolen from Egypt.
Meanwhile various countries are signing memoranda of understanding (MOU) to control the importation of antiquities and to coordinate efforts to prevent smuggling. In 2017 the US concluded an MOU with Egypt. These arrangements are backed by the 1970 UNESCO Paris convention which prohibits the sale and purchase of ancient art that had not been in circulation before the ratification of that treaty by each country.
But most of these measures and stakeholders focus on the final destination of the illicit antiquities, the collectors or museums – and this isn’t enough. There need to be measures to account for all stages of the illicit trade of antiquities: from excavation to the first and second intermediary (the dealers), to those transporting it from one country to another, to the final purchaser, the collector.

Working together

The Heritage Management Organisation (HERITΛGE), a project associated with the University of Kent, has been working to create a comprehensive strategy for the illicit antiquities trade, which aims to combine the knowledge and efforts of multiple stakeholders: scientists, local communities, police, collectors, legislators and the public.

An exhibition of Iraqi antiquities, including many that had been looted during the US invasion and recovered, co-funded by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the Iraqi government. EPA-EFE/Ahmed Jalil

To prevent illicit excavations police forces need to deploy the latest technological advances such as satellite surveillance, pattern recognition and forensic science. But they need the assistance of local communities in areas of archaeological significance who need to become more positive as stakeholders in the protection of their heritage.
Collectors should not all be seen as the enemy – but as potentially powerful stakeholders that need to be engaged and trained in the fight against the illegal antiquities trade. Many collectors are careful in how they buy – but others are simply ignorant of how to buy more responsibly. Collectors have insights and valuable information on clandestine networks, art dealers and their potentially rigorous verification (or not) of the legal standing of each piece in their own collections. With the cooperation of the Greek Ministry of Culture, HERITΛGE organised the first ever meeting between collectors, the ministry and the police in Greece. Much more needs to be done in this area.
It’s all very well having international treaties to control the antiquities trade, but first they must be understood by all the relevant stakeholders. HERITΛGE has published one of the few commentaries on restitution in both European and international Law.
It is imperative that volunteers are trained on how to check the provenance of items for sale and on how to use existing databases to “catch” clandestine or stolen pieces. One example is academic Christos Tsirogiannis who had had some success in tracking down looted antiquities and ensuring they are returned to their country of origin.
But, for this strategy to bear fruit, all the relevant stakeholders need to collaborate with an open mind and then maybe there is a chance that we’ll be able to bring an end to millennia of the despoiling of so many countries’ national heritage.

Written by Evangelos Kyriakidis, Senior Lecturer in Aegean Prehistory, University of Kent and director of the Heritage Management Organization.

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New evidence on the use of serpentinite in the Minoan architecture. A μ-Raman based study of the “House of the High Priest” drain in Knossos

Written by Giannis Grammatikakis
Serpentinites have been widely used as a raw material in a huge variety of shapes during the Minoan period, mainly for the construction of artifacts both for domestic use as well as religious purposes. According to Warren (1969), almost half of the entire corpus of the Minoan stone vases is consisted of objects made out of serpentinite. However, the utilization of serpentinites is extremely limited in the Minoan palatial architecture. In all the cases where the use of serpentinite is documented in the palace of Knossos, it has been used for the construction of column bases. The aim of this study is to look into the material used for the construction of the drain located under the stair leading to the adyton (sanctuary) of the “House of the High Priest”, one of the peripheral monuments of the Palace of Knossos (fig.1). Despite the fact that Sir A. Evans documented the stone drain and described the raw material as stone, no further comments were made regarding the exact type of stone used by the Minoans. Furthermore, the fact that a rather unusual material was used for the construction of a drain, instead of a more typical material such as limestone or sandstone, enhances the ill-defined and controversial character of the “House of the High Priest”.

fig 1

Fig. 1. The part of the ancient drain exposed during the restoration works

The initial mineralogical characterization of the drain material, was carried out by means of X-ray powder Diffraction leading to the identification of several minerals and polymorphs. Further examination of the sample in terms of microstructural and chemical analysis of the different inclusions, was implemented by means of confocal μ-Raman spectroscopy.
Within the concept of this study, emphasis is given to the application of this nondestructive and noninvasive technique that can be applied in situ for the analysis and characterization of objects of archaeological significance made out of serpentinite minerals, where often sample acquisition is not possible.
In this study several Raman spectra were acquired from the sample of the ancient drain. In the Raman spectra shown in Fig. 2, the presence of chrysotile, calcite and steatite is documented. In Spectrum 1 the two Raman spectra the presence of chrysotile one of the serpentine family of minerals is indicated by the presence of the Raman bands at 232, 348, 391, 622 και 690 cm−1.

fig 2

Fig. 2. Two Raman spectra of chrysotile obtained for two different spots from the sample of the High Priests House drain near Knossos.

In many cases the morphological values of an archaeological object consist of the most important aspects that have to be preserved. In such cases, extensive and systematic sampling, or even the acquisition of a small fragment are out of the question. It has been demonstrated here, as well as in many relevant papers, that Raman spectroscopy can provide valid information that can be used for the characterization of minerals.
The choice of Raman spectroscopy as the main non-destructive analytical tool consists a strategic decision for two main reasons: (a) There are several other architectural elements implemented in the Minoan palatial architecture allegedly made out of serpentinite that macroscopically bear different characteristics and have to be examined, and (b) the majority of the Minoan stone vases corpus is consisted of artifacts made out of serpentinite but in both cases sampling is not possible. Lastly, the correlation of the data acquired from the analysis of the serpentinite outcrops on the island of Crete, with those from the archaeological objects might augment the development of knowledge regarding the cultural networks among the agricultural areas, where the serpentinite sources are located towards the centers of the Minoan civilization.
Within the context of this study, it is of minor importance whether the ‘adyton’ of the “House of the High Priest” is a sacred site or not, since the use of serpentinites for the construction of architectural elements, is particularly out of the ordinary in the neopalatial period. In previous periods serpentinite containing rocks were used due to their aesthetic values (PM I·II, 213). Nevertheless in the case of the “House of the High Priest”, the fact that the drain was “hidden” increases the chances that this material was used because of its properties (imaginary or real) and not for its appearance.
Evans, A., 1964. The Palace of Minos at Knossos, I, II, III, IV, New York. (pp. Ι, 141–3, 213, 225–30, 327, 334–5, 363, 378–80, 393–6, 400, ΙΙ, 161, ΙΙΙ, 5, 236–44, 245-59, 492).
Warren, P., 1965. Two Stone Vases From Knossos, BSA. 60. pp. 248–315.
grammatikakisB&WGiannis Grammatikakis is a conservation scientist with an MSc in environmental chemistry and a PhD in inorganic chemistry.
In 2005 he started his career working as “field” conservator, on monuments, as a member of the conservation team of Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis of Athens. Since 2006 as an employee of 23rd
E.P.C.A. (Hellenic Ministry of Culture) he has made several surveys and restoration studies for several monuments mostly from the Minoan period. From 2010 till the end of the project in 2014, he was the Head conservator for the peripheral monuments of the Palace of Knossos.
Currently he is working as a researcher in the department of chemistry, University of Crete. He is also a member of the The Heritage Management Organization and the owner of Archaeoanalysis DBA.

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The Sklavokampos Documentation Project

The Sklavokampos documentation project is an interdisciplinary project that aims to record the conservation needs of the archaeological site of the Sklavokampos Minoan second order centre as a monument. This project was a part of the Three Peak Sanctuaries project of the University of Kent and the Heritage Management Organization which aims to document and study three Minoan peak sanctuaries of the Malevyzi area which define the greater area around the plateau of Sklavokampos both in antiquity and in its current social setting. The Sklavokampos documentation project is essential for the greater integration of this particular site into the current and future social, cultural and economic networks of the area. As such the Sklavokampos documentation project begun with ethnographic, bibliographical and archival work to determine the important values of the site of Sklavokampos Minoan second order centre and its environs. It is these values that have to be documented and protected and as such both the tangible fabric and the intangible values of the site form essential parts of this project.
In parallel with the documentation of the tangible constituents of the Sklavokampos Villa, an effort has been made for the documentation and preservation of the intangible values of the monument. Values such as the archaeological and physical man-made evidence as well as the non-archaeological evidence. We designed our project as a ‘conservation program’ that is not merely about the materials for the material’s sake, but it should help preserve the materials because, they are the basis on which important values are predicated. The materials should be preserved, so as to help us preserve the values based on them. Within this context we propose a series of actions aiming to the enhancement of all the values the archaeological site that include education and training programs both for visitors as well as locals for the preservation of these intangible values.
This is a first such effort to combine the tangible with the intangible in the same documentation project and as a result this project has recommendations for both. We firmly believe that this is the only way we can document conservation needs, since the word ‘conservation’ should not only include the tangible but also the much richer ‘intangible’.
The tangible heritage documentation’s initial stage included the deforestation of the site and the surrounding slopes. That way the complete photogrammetric documentation of the site was made possible. This work was the foundation on which the orthophoto maps, the master plan and all of the walls of the monument were created. The processed draws that were created from the photogrammetric plans, were used as the foundation on which all the documentation of the building elements was materialized regarding their categorization and their current state of preservation. Those plans were used also for the precalculation of all the surfaces of the monument that have to be restored.

SEM electromicrograph showing coarse grained sparitic calcite

SEM electromicrograph showing coarse grained sparitic calcite

After the macroscopic observation, identification and characterization of the building elements and the restoration materials, samples were acquired from the local stone formations outside the perimeter of the site. All the samples were analyzed regarding the mineralogical and chemical composition, through X-ray diffraction, petrographic microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, micro Raman and FTIR spectroscopies. The elemental and stoichiometric analysis was performed through the energy dispersing spectroscopy coupled with the SEM microscope. All the analyses mentioned above were performed at the labs of the Dept. of Chemistry, UoC. At the same time, samples of all the biological specimens (biological encrustations and growths) present on the building and architectural elements of the monument were acquired. The biological species were identified and characterized after the analysis of the specimens under the stereoscope, in the labs of the Dept. of Biology, UoC. During this stage it was made possible to connect the presence of the mineral whewellite (calcium oxalate monohydrate) that was documented on the surface of the stone building elements of Sklavokampos through the Raman spectroscopic analysis, with the presence of Aspicilia calcarea which is the dominant biological encrustation present on site.
Furthermore, with all the analytical information at hand, the damage assessment study was materialized and all the weathering forms were documented. Regarding the damage assessment evaluation, a series of experiments a was designed in collaboration with the Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry lab of the Dept. of Chemical engineering of the Polytechnic School of Patras. The aim of this project is to measure the solubility rates of the local Tripolis zone type limestone, from which the monument is built of. For this

Orthophotogrammetric map of site of Sklavokampos

purpose several local stone underwent an artificial ageing process (dissolution) in a batch type reactor using the constant composition technique (CCT) in order to study the dissolution kinetics in variable saturation conditions. Through those experiments it has been made possible to determine the deterioration rates of the building stones of the monument that result to the characteristic karst effect formations on their surfaces. The results of this work are representative for this specific type of rock and constitute an important value of mineralogical significance connecting this aspect of the geological heritage of the area of the St. Anna gorge and the Gonies plateau with their archaeological heritage.
This work will be published in the near future within the context of a case study regarding the assessment of weathering process related to the karst effect and the Sklavokampos site.
As regards to the restoration materials and applications, samples from the local soil were collected and analyzed in order to measure the mechanical and chemical properties of this material and therefore to determine if it is efficient in order to be used as a restoration mortar for the walls of the monument. This specific type of mortar is proposed based on its exceptional performance in the archaeological site of Tylissos were it has been applied for the same purpose. The analyses of the soil samples were performed by GeoTerra Ltd as well as in the analytical chemistry and X-ray diffraction labs of the Dept. of Chemistry, UoC. All the testing and evaluation of the materials, compositions and methodologies for the restoration and preservation of the stone elements of the monument have been completed.
Although we are not entirely satisfied with the results in the way in which the values of heritage are documented homogeneously throughout this study, this has been a first effort to do so and in such we consider this study a pioneer for the future. We are grateful to the Kaplan Foundation and to the Institute for Aegean Prehistory without the help of whom we would not be able to conduct such a study.

Giannis Grammatikakis is a conservation scientist with an MSc in environmental chemistry and a PhD in inorganic chemistry.

In 2005 he started his career working as “field” conservator, on monuments, as a member of the conservation team of Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis of Athens. Since 2006 as an employee of 23rd E.P.C.A. (Hellenic Ministry of Culture) he has made several surveys and restoration studies for several monuments mostly from the Minoan period. From 2010 till the end of the project in 2014, he was the Head conservator for the peripheral monuments of the Palace of Knossos.
Currently he is working as a researcher in the department of chemistry, University of Crete. He is also a mamber of the The Heritage Management Organization and the owner of Archaeoanalysis DBA.


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