: Sites

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.

 

Unexplored Exeter for Heritage Open Days 2014

The European Heritage Days (Journées européennes du patrimoine) initiative was created by the Council of Europe and the European Commission in 1991 in order to raise awareness and to promote the cultural wealth of Europe, with the key caveat that all events, open days, and talks must be free to attend. Now with 50 signatory states participating, the EHD have wider-reaching aims, including in 2014 to:

  • raise the awareness of European citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • create a climate in which the appreciation of the rich mosaic of European cultures is stimulated;
  • counter racism and xenophobia and encourage greater tolerance in Europe and beyond the national borders;
  • inform the public and the political authorities about the need to protect cultural heritage against new threats;
  • invite Europe to respond to the social, political and economic challenges it faces.

(Council of Europe and European Union 2014, http://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/ehd-jep/presentation)

Exeter in 1832

Map of the city of Exeter from 1832. The Roman baths lie under the green in front of the Cathedral, rough in the centre between the letters R and L. Used under CC SA 3.0 license from Plymouth University

The English branch of the programme, called Heritage Open Days, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, taking place between 11th and 14th September 2014. I visited several sites over the weekend portion of the open days in my home city of Exeter. Exeter is possibly most well-known as the site of a Roman legionary fortress and subsequent province, Isca Dumnoniorum. Built over the Roman civic centre (and at the heart of the modern city centre) is the large gothic Cathedral of St. Peter. It was a talk discussing this very site by the Devon Archaeological Society that was the first Heritage Open Days event I attended this year. This talk presented the (continuing) history of the Roman Baths of Exeter, excavated in 1972/3 and subsequently recovered with sand. The key issue with the site is that the mid-1st century AD Legionary baths lie under both the Cathedral Green, a 1970’s processional stairway listed by English Heritage, and adjacent buildings in the Cathedral Close. In order to expose the Roman Baths, at least part of the listed steps would have to destroyed, a WWII memorial rehomed, and a large portion of the landscaped Cathedral Green dug up. In the 40 years since excavation, various schemes have been put forward, yet so far none have seen fruition, with funding or feasibility being the main stumbling blocks. Last year the idea was reignited with the key stakeholder, the Diocese of Exeter, prepared to discuss the possibility of exposing the baths. The key issues (that have existed from when the site was excavated 40 years’ previously) continue to be the location and how the re-excavation and exposure would work architecturally, the funding for such a large project, and the site’s ongoing conservation (Allan 2014, 3). Such a large and historically interesting site and interpretation centre would bring many tourists, visitors and educational groups to the city, and this factor has been cited (with reference to the success of the Roman bath house at Bath) as one of the reasons to finally make the project a reality.

TuckersHallTriptych

Nestled between two 20th century buildings, Tuckers Hall sits unnoticed by most passers-by

I also attended open days at sites not often (in one case not at all until now) open to the public. These included Tuckers Hall and the Dissenter’s Graveyard. The former is a guild hall built in the mid-1400s for weavers, tuckers and shearmen during the city’s booming wool trade. The building has managed to survive, tucked away on one of the main roads in the city centre and surviving for hundreds of years through the collapse of the wool trade in the city, infrastructural changes, renovation and even the extensive Luftwaffe bombing of the city during WWII. Now a Grade II* listed building, it is still owned and managed by the Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen, and open to the public on selected days. Upon entering the building, I immediately regretted not visiting sooner, as it has a great exhibition of the history of wool trading in Exeter, the wool making process and evidence of the ubiquity of wool working in the city prior to the industrial revolution. The recent development project that enabled this interpretation centre to be built is not quite finished; the Guild are also looking to digitise their extensive archive of documents dating back to the 16th century.

The Dissenter’s Graveyard is a heritage site that was little-known, if not unknown, in the city until the beginning of this year when it was purchased by the trust that now owns and manages it. Created in the mid-1700s, the purpose of the graveyard was to be the final resting place of protestant non-conformists who disagreed with the Anglican faith (hence ‘dissenters’). Full-up within around 100 years, the small plot is the site of up to 2,000 burials. The Exeter Dissenters Graveyard Trust has now de-weeded and cleaned up the tombstones in the first phase of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council for British Archaeology and private donation. From my visit during Heritage Open Days it was clear that the project’s success has relied on the mobilisation of volunteers who have worked to preserve this site in partnership with the trust and funders. Volunteers and organisations working in partnership was discussed at other sites I visited during the weekend; evidencing both the eagerness of the local community to protect Exeter’s heritage, but also the European Heritage Days aim of inform(ing) the public and the political authorities about the need to protect cultural heritage against new threats, as to many sites a lack of personnel is a continued threat.

References

Allan, J. 2014. ‘Exeter’s Roman legionary Bath-house’ in Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. No.117, January 2014. Exeter: Devon Archaeological Society


Carmen TalbotCarmen Talbot is a student in the 2013 cohort of the Heritage Management MA, and Kent Scholar. Previously studying Ancient History as an undergraduate, she is interested in adult education in heritage and encouraging the wider adoption of digital solutions.

MA Field Study Projects: Management Plan for Malawi Slave Trade Heritage Route and Dr. David Livingstone Trail

As part of fulfilling our MA in Heritage Management, we have started field research which will lead to designing and preparing a management plan for the Slave Trade Heritage Route and Dr. David Livingstone trail in Malawi. The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Antiquities, has nominated this series of sites on the UNESCO Tentative List.

Carrying out condition assessment at the old mosque in Nkhotakota

Carrying out condition assessment at the old mosque in Nkhotakota

To continue with the efforts done by the Malawi Government and UNESCO, we would like to document these sites, re-assess their values, carryout condition assessments, analyze and identify the stakeholders, and later, propose the best practice to better manage, protect and enhance these sites.

History & Background

Slave trade was introduced in Malawi by the Swahili-Arab traders in the 19th Century. The main slave routes within Malawi were Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mangochi and Phalombe, where the Swahili-Arabs and their Yao allies built their headquarters and stockades, organizing expeditions to capture slaves. These routes were the major terminus of the slaves throughout Central Africa going to the East African coast markets. At Nkhotakota, Jumbe, a Yao local chief, would send about 20,000 slaves annually to the market of Kilwa.

Ruins of the hospital at Fort Lister

Ruins of the hospital at Fort Lister

Dr. David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary and explorer, visited Nkhotakota in1861 where he witnessed slave trade at its peak. He got horrified in the way slaves were handled at Jumbe’s stockade and he described it as “a place of bloodshed and lawlessness”. In 1864 David Livingstone visited Nkhotakota again and met Jumbe. He was able to secure a treaty between Jumbe and Chewa Chiefs to stop slave trade and hostilities between them. However, the treaty did not last long as Jumbe continued with slave trade. It was up until Nyasaland came under the British protectorate in 1891 that slave trade completely came to an end.

It is important that this heritage be preserved to keep this memory alive for future generations to learn from. These routes are justified heritage because they also have a link to missionary work. When David Livingstone reported accounts of  his experience on his second journey to Africa, he recommended that Christianity be introduced in the area to counteract slave trade activities. This led to the coming of important missionaries along the slave trade routes.

Goals & Objectives

To ensure effectiveness of our work, we have come up with the following objectives to serve as a compass to enable us get to our destination of coming up with a thorough, readily accessible and realistic management plan:

  1. To document sites related to slave trade heritage and Dr Livingstone trail in Malawi.
  2. To re-assess the site values and come up with a comprehensive statement of significance about slave trade heritage and Dr Livingstone trail in Malawi.
  3. To identify all relevant stakeholders and meet them to seek their views as far as slave trade heritage and Dr Livingstone trail in Malawi is concerned.
  4. To carry out site condition assessments.
  5. To propose best practices in management, conservation, research, tourism and marketing and education and awareness-raising programs for slave trade heritage and Dr Livingstone trail in Malawi.
Stakeholder meeting with Father with Father Beird Mponda of Anglican Diocese in Nkhotakota

Stakeholder meeting with Father Beird Mponda of Anglican Diocese in Nkhotakota

Methodology & Timelines

A survey will be conducted to identify and map the stakeholders related to the project. To help carry out this survey, we are currently developing an informal questionnaire to distribute to stakeholders. Site surveys will also be used to assess the condition of the heritage sites. A condition assessment form will be used to record the conservation problems. Desk research will be used by reviewing some literature related to slavery and missionaries all around the world. Local libraries and archives will be visited to review the literature and old photographs.

Society of Malawi: doing literature review

Society of Malawi: doing literature review

Benefits & Anticipated Outcomes

We are of the firm view that this project will help the government of Malawi, the international community, local and international tour operators, schools and the local communities. The government of Malawi through the Department of Culture will use the results of the project to come up with strategies on how best to manage, promote and conserve the sites.

International communities like the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS will use this management plan document to evaluate the sites for listing on the World Heritage List.

When the proposed strategies of conservation and presentation initiatives have been implemented, tour operators will use the sites to give slave trade experience to the visitors.

The sites will also be used by researchers, school educators and students to study and learn about the history and practices of slave trade and missionary activities in the whole world.

Carrying out desk research at Society of Malawi in Blantyre

Carrying out desk research at the Society of Malawi in Blantyre

Conclusion

The team is very optimistic that documenting and preparing this management plan will bring a new sense of urgency and commitment to heritage management in Malawi, especially in the protection of slave trade history and the activities of missionaries in Eastern African, and by extension Africa as a whole.

For the team members, this practical exercise is opening us up to new experiences and challenges in documenting and dealing with stakeholders and how to innovate, improvise, and engage with them in order to achieve our primary goals of a management plan.

These slave trade routes are rare and unique heritage sites in Malawi which record the memories of hardship and inhumanity which the people of Malawi and the entire world went through in the 19th Century. It is important that this heritage be preserved to keep this memory alive for future generations to learn from.

Eastern gate of Fort Mangochi with local communities

Eastern gate of Fort Mangochi with local communities


Oris Malijani is a Cultural Heritage Officer in the Malawi Ministry of Tourism and Culture under the Antiquities Department and a 2013/2014 HERMA student. He has a background in Geography as well as conservation and management of immovable cultural heritage. His research interests include archaeology, fundraising for cultural organizations and heritage for development.

Eleusinian Mysteries

In this post, I would like to share a part of our class experience since my friends and I are doing our postgraduate degree near such important and interesting heritage sites which still have a cultural and historical value for the local people, not only archaeologists and heritage managers.

Elefsina (Eleusis), where the current MA’s lectures are taking place, is famous to historians and archaeologists for its sanctuary to Demeter and its associated cult which is one of the most famous religious observances in Ancient Greece. The details of the cult are still unknown due to its high secrecy. It had been practiced for over 2100 years from 1700 BC and the 20 kilometer pilgrimage route starting from  the center of Athens to Elefsina was trekked by foot. This practice continued through generation to generation, but was abandoned after a prohibition order of pagan activities by the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius I in the fourth century A.D. 

However the road taken by those palmers, called this the Sacred Way (Iera Odos), can still be observed today in its tangible form and intangible values. Figure 1 shows an estimation of the way by archaeologists and historians. 

Fig 1: Map of the Scared way

Fig 1: Map of the Sacred way

The whole journey starts from, the Eleusinian at the Acropolis (pink point), and pass a gate of Athenian walls at Kerameikos (yellow point). Then it follows along the modern day highway still called “Iera Odos” which passes by the Sanctuary to Aphrodite (blue point). Finally it arrives in Elefsina (green point), where the religious cult activity was talking place.

The students participated in a field trip that traced the ruins of the Sacred Way, visiting Aphrodite’s Sanctuary as well as stretches of the stone path that created the Way which have been uncovered.

Eleusinian near the Acropolis

The Eleusinian was used as storage for all the sacred objects of the Eleusinian Mysteries during its ceremonies, which is located near the Acropolis in Athens. The participants started their pilgrimage journey from here.

Fig2: A part of the Acropolis 

Fig2: A part of the Acropolis. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Kerameikos

The name, Kerameikos, came from the word “pottery”, in Greek since potters and their painters used to settle around this area  (Ministry of Culture and Sports in Greece, 2012). As Figure 3 shows, it is currently an archaeological site, and a gate of the Athenian wall was located here as a Figure 4 shows due to the protection of the city in ancient times. It was also place to bury the soldiers killed by battles (Ancient Athens 3D).

Fig3. Keramikos. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig3. Kerameikos. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig4: 3D images of ancient Kerameikos

Fig4: 3D images of ancient Kerameikos. Photo Credit: Ancient Athens 3D

The road is divided into two ways; the Iera Odos being to the right. The road is still actively used and is one of the main roads to go Elefsina from Athens today.

Fig5: A crossroad. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig5: A crossroad. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Aphrodite’s Sanctuary

According to one of our professor’s, the sanctuary, located at the middle point between Athens and Elefsina, is dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. Those rock cut niches in Figure 7, were created by pilgrims and initiates to the cult to house votive offerings to help solve problems in their personal lives in relation to characteristics of Aphrodite. It is currently surrounded by fences, but is still religiously popular among the locals as a Figure 8 suggests. This offering was there when our class arrived at the site, making it highly possible that this offering was made within few days of our visit. In this sense, the Sanctuary has both tangible and intangible value for the locals. 

Fig6: The cave and its fence. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig6: The cave and its fence. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig7: Rock cut niches for votives to Aphrodite. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig7: Rock cut niches for votives to Aphrodite. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig8: An offering. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig8: An offering. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Remains of the Way

Near the Sanctuary, there are remains of the Sacred Way in Figures 9 and 10. The stones of the passage are originals, so the passage has enormous level of authenticity.  However, there are no informational signs or explanations to show this important site, and unfortunately a water park for children was built in front of this passage ruining the site’s authenticity.  It is almost impossible to distinguish those stones in front of the amusement park which have existed there from ancient times. This type of controversial problem is also a case of concern by the field of Heritage Management.

Fig 9: The Sacred Way runs along a modern water park. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig 9: The Sacred Way runs along a modern water park. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig10: Remains of the Sacred Way. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig10: Remains of the Sacred Way. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Elefsina (Eleusis)

Fig11: Elefsina Archaeological site. Photo Credit: Yoshitaka Sasaki

Fig11: Elefsina Archaeological site. Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Then the 20km journey ends at another acropolis, currently known as the Archaeological Site of Elefsina. It is a site that is mythologically known as the city where Hades had taken Demeter’s daughter Persephone down to the underworld. The myth has it that when her daughter was taken, Demeter was so upset that she allowed all the crops in the world to die. A deal was made with Hades that Persephone would be allowed to come up to Earth to be with her mother for 6 months out of the year and spend the rest of the year with him in the underworld, and this is why we have the seasons. The essence of the cult was to ensure that the harvest would happen year after year. Initiates of the cult would make their way through the site and up the hillside to the largest covered temple known as the Telesterion where the secret rituals of the cult were performed.

This Sacred Way is a great case study for heritage managers as the values of these sites do not enhance or provide their importance to the present population due to its poor or lack of management. We need to establish ways to overcome the issue effectively and efficiently, which is what my classmates and I are training to do.

References


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 Yoshitaka Sasaki is a postgraduate student in the MA in Heritage Management 2013-2014. He mainly took business administration studies with philosophy and social science courses within a liberal art degree during his undergraduate. Yoshitaka’s main interest is to find ways of managing heritage sites by enhancing the values of sites in understandable forms to visitors and related stakeholders in the context of the tourism industry, aided by his study abroad experiences in Switzerland, Thailand and Greece.

Milan: far more than just great shopping

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; Photo by Brittany Wade


Milan is the second largest city in Italy and the fifth largest city in the European Union. As a part of the Blue Banana (or European Backbone), it is considered to be one of the most populous, affluent, and industrial urban areas in the world. Known as one of the top fashion and design capitals on the world stage, Milan’s shopping district surrounding the Via Torino and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II are on par with the Champs Élysées and Rodeo Drive. As well as being a commercial and financial center of Europe, Milan is one of the most highly established intellectual and cultural hubs in Italy.
I did not know much about this great city before I ventured there during the Christmas holidays, assuming I would just wander through some outdoor markets, check out a couple of churches, and take it easy. I had not expected to encounter such a vast array of artistic, architectural, and culturally stimulating activities that I could devote my time to. Everything is easily accessible by underground metro or bus and (to my surprise) tickets are reasonably priced. Unlike the other three cities I visited in Italy, most of the museums offer student discounts and churches are free to enter (although there will be a small fee for roof access and taking pictures; example: Duomo di Milano).
Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol; Photo from the Palazzo Reale.

Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol; Photo from the Palazzo Reale.


My greatest surprise came from the Palazzo Reale where two of my favorite artists had world renowned exhibitions taking place. The first exhibition simply entitled Warhol was a compilation of 160 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by American Pop Artist, Andy Warhol, collected and created by his close friend Peter Brant. It displays some of his most iconic works such as the silk-screened Marilyn Monroe and Mona Lisa, polaroids of his celebrity friends, and the legendary Campbell’s soup can.
Pollock & the Irascibles gallery; GIF by Palazzo Reale

Pollock & the Irascibles gallery; GIF by Palazzo Reale


The second exhibition was entitled Pollock & the Irascibles which held works by American artist Jackson Pollock and other abstract expressionist painters from the “irascible” movement. It was fantastically curated to convey the creative process of expressionist painting through film along side the finished masterpieces. In the middle of the first room, a circular couch with head cushions was placed to view a film on the ceiling showing Pollock flinging paint in his signature style on to a piece of glass. This created an experience for the viewer that was both interactive and bonding with the works that they were about to see. The tickets for both exhibitions had student discounts and included audio guides that ensured you got the most out of your visit.
Santa Maria delle Grazie; Photo from Wikipedia

Santa Maria delle Grazie; Photo from Wikipedia


The most moving part of my Milanese experience however was getting to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Located in its original location in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the painting has had a lifetime of conservational issues. Da Vinci had constructed the work using a “dry” technique to prolong his painting process; while this was ideal for the nuances and detail he wished to convey, it caused the colors to fade and the plaster to deteriorate much more quickly. Five restorations have taken place since the 18th century, the latest one taking up to 20 years to complete (1970-1999 by Pinin Brambilla Barcilon). The painting receives regular maintenance by specialists, undergoing scheduled inspections and “dustings”.
Da Vinci's Last Supper; Public Domain Version

Da Vinci’s Last Supper; Public Domain Version


To be able to see the masterpiece becomes more of a privilege than a right, with tickets needing to be reserved far in advance for a 15 minute viewing slot and with no more than 20 people at a time. Two air-locked chambers are on either side of the chapel that houses the painting, limiting pollutants and light brought in by the visitors coming and going. The chapel has been climate controlled and the original windows which cast the light depicted by the artist have been blocked off. A guide enters with you and gives you a brief history and reading of the work before you can take it in on your own. It was powerful knowing that such devotion is involved in protecting one of the most famous works of art in human history and it was an experience I will treasure forever.
These are just a few examples of the cultural sites that I saw during my time in Milan and there are countless more that the city has to offer. The combination of great food, hospitality, entertainment, and culture makes Milan a must-see if you are ever visiting Northern Italy.


Brittany Wade
Brittany Wade is the editor of the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy blog and student of the MA in Heritage Management 2013. Having studied Classics in her undergraduate, Brittany is interested in applying her knowledge of history in the field of archaeology. Her interests are mainly in Prehistoric Minoan and Hellenic history.

Visiting the Oracle: Road Trip to Delphi

Living in Greece allows those interested in heritage sites unlimited amounts of opportunities to explore, especially if you have a friend with a car. Deciding to spend a beautiful sunny day on the road, several classmates and I made our own pilgrimage to the sacred site of Delphi. Traveling from Elefsina where the remains of the sanctified site of Eleusis still stands, we recreated a modern day procession to the place known in ancient times to be the center of the world. While driving through the mostly vacant, hilly terrain of Attica we suddenly saw jutting mountains with plunging valleys spring up around us as we entered the Greek state of Fokis. Arriving around the winding mountain roads towards the site, my jaw dropped. Those ancient Greeks sure knew how to pick their religious sites. The natural landscape alone gave the place a sense of holiness.
The moment the car was parked and we began our ascent to the site, the heritage management part of my brain kicked in. Our Greek friend who had driven us had asked if she would have to pay to get in. Knowing full well that you have to pay to get into a majority of the sites in Greece, this made me think that Greek citizens would be more likely to visit heritage sites in their own country if there were free or discounted admissions for them. Luckily, entrance is free for everyone the first Sunday of every month during the low season, which came as a pleasant surprise for us! But even when entrance is free, there are still some non-financial costs that remain, such as time and effort. Since we had not arrived until 2pm after our three hour journey, we were told that the site and the museum would be shutting down at 3pm. Although this is the advertised closing time, it startled me and my group since now we would have to rush our visit. And the site is huge. And uphill.
I tried to take in as much as I could, my eyes scanning every slab of marble and informational plaque at rapid speeds. We heard a whistle blow and a gentleman told us that the site would be closing and we needed to leave…it was only 2:15! This came as a disappointment, since the last admission advertised on the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports website is at 2:30pm. Defiantly, we continued our upwards journey to at least see the amphitheater and its awe-inspiring view. It allows you to take in the whole of the site, which was bittersweet considering we were unable to see it in its entirety. On our way back down the Sacred Way, we saw a group of tourists all huddled around the omphalos (marble “navel” of the goddess Gaia). Not only were they leaning over the protective barricades, they were vigorously rubbing the stone while also attempting to push it off its plinth! While the management at Delphi is very professional in many aspects, it is not as “hands on” when it comes to close supervision. But this is understandable when it comes to a site so large.
Despite our haste, Delphi was a remarkable place to visit. It is a site so beautiful and so steeped in ancient history that it is a privilege to even quickly stop by. What I came away with after this visit was that the site might benefit from a S.W.O.T. analysis, assessing and addressing the potential Threats/Weaknesses to create more Opportunities for its visitors and to reinforce its existing Strengths. I will surely be back to complete my tour and encourage heritage enthusiasts and anyone else interested to embark on the incredible journey to sacred Delphi.


Brittany WadeBrittany Wade is the editor of the Initiative for Heritage Conservancy blog and  student of the MA in Heritage Management 2013. Having studied Classics in her undergraduate, Brittany is interested in applying her knowledge of history  in the field of archaeology. Her interests are mainly in Prehistoric Minoan and Hellenic history.