Tracing opus sectile fragments

Tracing opus sectile fragments
Image capture by Wojciech Kolataj
Date Created:
Villa of the Birds Mosaic Conservation
Existing conditions before conservation
Early Roman Villa
Alexandria, Egypt and Al Iskandarīyah
Time Period:
Early Roman Empire
Domestic architecture, Art, Greco-Roman, and Geometric designs
color photographs and tracings (drawings)
Conservation Note:
Mosaic A3 is the biggest mosaic floor, it decorate the triclinium (main reception room of the villa). It was made in two techniques and arranged in a U + T pattern. It sustained extensive damages, especially along the borders where the stone walls were plundered. As with other mosaics, a fire had caused damage as well. The conditions of the opus tessellatum and opus sectile varied significantly. The former in relatively good condition while the latter was significantly damaged. Modern repairs were removed, however ancient repairs were preserved despite being executed with big marble slabs chosen at random causing deformation and distortion of the surface. Conservation measures included the reconsolidation of loose tesserae and the partial reconstruction of fragments. For more information on conservation measures for the mosaics, refer to Progress Report 5 or the Final Report.
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Project History:
At the heart of modern Alexandria in Kom el-Dikka lies an exceptional demonstration of Domestic architecture during the Roman Imperial period. The Early Roman villa named “Villa of the Birds” houses exceptionally well preserved mosaic floors, made of tesserae. True to its name, it contains Mosaic a-5 which depicts different bird species within seven different panels. Under the auspices of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), Dr. Wojciech Kolataj and his team conserved the mosaic floors, constructed a shelter, and landscaped the surrounding area. Some related supplemental work was carried out by the Polish-Egyptian Preservation Mission, and sponsored jointly by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (currently the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities) and the Polish Center of Archaeology. Conservation work was made possible with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (formerly the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities).
Funding Agency:
Villa of the Birds Mosaic Conservation project was made possible with funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Grant No. 263-G-00-93-00089-00 (formerly 263-0000-G-00-3089-00) and administered by the Egyptian Antiquities Project (EAP) of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE).