July 2, 2005
In many cases a bad restoration or reconstruction can be far more damaging to an archaeological site than just doing nothing & leaving the site to slowly deteriorate. Not only are items damaged, but often any information linking them to the other artefacts is lost as they are re-assembled incorrectly.
Deliberate vandalism, such as the removal of the sculptures from the Parthenon under the instructions of Lord Elgin is worse – it is like bad restoration, but without good intentions.
Earlier restorations of the Acropolis by Balanos in the 1920s have caused huge amounts of damage to the buildings on the site. Iron clamps were used to join pieces of stone, but without the lead covering that had been used in ancient times. Over time water reached the iron & rusted it causing it to expand breaking the stonework as it did so. The problem was further exacerbated by incomplete records of the cataloguing, that meant that it has taken a long time to actually find all of the replaced clamps.
The current CCAM restoration of the Acropolis has been subject to stringent guidelines & is trying to correct many of the errors made by Balanos.
Burma is not so lucky, as the military government there is trying to rebuild ancient sites, using concrete, brick & bathroom tiles.
Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 01:19 GMT 02:19 UK
Burma rebuilding risks Pagan jewel
By Andrew Harding
BBC News, Burma
The sunsets are still spectacular – a golden glow brushing the curves of 2,000 ancient temples and pagodas clustered on the edge of the Irrawaddy River in central Burma.
But today some of the world’s leading experts have accused Burma’s military regime of waging “archaeological blitzkrieg” against the legendary Buddhist treasures of Pagan.
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