Shelter interior: hosts and EAP visitors on freshly installed walkways

Shelter interior: hosts and EAP visitors on freshly installed walkways
Image capture by Robert Vincent
Date Created:
October 1999
Villa of the Birds Mosaic Conservation
Alexandria, Egypt and Al Iskandarīyah
Time Period:
Byzantine Period
Domestic architecture
color photographs
Conservation Note:
In order to protect the mosaics within their original context, a 15 x 12 m shelter was built to prevent damage from detrimental atmospheric factors, especially rainwater. The shelter protects the mosaic floors from direct sunshine (staving the risk of thermal expansion) and possible damage from visitors. As they are situated 1.5 m below ground level, a footbridge was constructed for viewers. There are no internal supports to conflict aesthetically with the remaining ancient ruins. The shelter's outer wall was designed to adjust to the existing walls of the Byzantine building. In places where the walls did not survive or were preserved in lower course, new walls made of security glass panels were introduced. For more details on the shelter design, refer to the Final Report or the Progress Reports.
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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).