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Proceedings Paper

Application of non-destructive techniques to assess the state of Hagia Sophia's mosaics
Author(s): Antonia Moropoulou; Maria Karoglou; Kyriakos C. Labropoulos; Ekaterini T. Delegou; Nikolaos K. Katsiotis; Asterios Karagiannis-Bakolas
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Paper Abstract

The church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is a world heritage monument that epitomizes the byzantine ecclesiastic architecture. The church is decorated with mosaics from various historic periods. The preservation state of the mosaics is of high importance. In this study, non-destructive techniques (ground penetrating radar, infra-red thermography, fibreoptics microscopy) were employed on south upper gallery mosaic areas. The main aim of this on-site investigation was the evaluation of the preservation state of the mosaics and the previous interventions (materials characterization and decay diagnosis) in order to assess the performance of previous conservation/restoration interventions, as well as to verify the presence of mosaics in layers below the external plaster surfaces. Results indicated that is indeed possible to locate the grid of rendered mosaics. Regarding the preservation state of the mosaics, it was indicated that the main environmental decay factors were the high relative humidity levels with co-action of salt damp as well as the air pollutants. Moreover, it was revealed that previous incompatible restoration/conservation interventions have often accelerated the mosaics' degradation processes. Using non-destructive techniques it was possible to identify areas where the mosaic materials (tesserae and mortars) presented decay problems and in addition identify sub-layers that pose risk of detachment or decay intensification. In this way, NDT can contribute to the development of a strategic planning for mosaics conservation, protection and revealing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 March 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8346, Smart Sensor Phenomena, Technology, Networks, and Systems Integration 2012, 83460Y (30 March 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.917426
Show Author Affiliations
Antonia Moropoulou, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)
Maria Karoglou, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)
Kyriakos C. Labropoulos, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)
Ekaterini T. Delegou, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)
Nikolaos K. Katsiotis, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)
Asterios Karagiannis-Bakolas, National Technical Univ. of Athens (Greece)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8346:
Smart Sensor Phenomena, Technology, Networks, and Systems Integration 2012
Theodore E. Matikas, Editor(s)

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