April 10, 2008

Progress of the Parthenon restoration

Posted at 12:41 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

The restoration project on the Parthenon is proceeding, with removal of more parts of the building for cleaning.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday April 10, 2008
Parthenon restoration up a gear

The restoration of the pollution-ravaged friezes of the Parthenon is set to gather pace, with the removal of a further 17 metopes from the Athens landmark for cleaning, the Culture Ministry’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said yesterday.

Of these 17 metopes, 14 will be from the west side of the Parthenon which, experts say, is in a “lamentable state.” Another metope – depicting a Centauromachy – will be taken down from the south side and two more from the north side.

The cleaning of architectural elements and sculptures from the Parthenon began in 1976. But efforts have gathered momentum in recent years mainly due to the Athens 2004 Olympics and – chiefly British – criticism that Greece has abandoned its ancient treasures to acid rain and pollution.

Last year six metopes were removed from the west side of the Parthenon.

KAS was reportedly hesitatant about approving the removal of an additional 17 metopes – fearing it would leave the Parthenon bare – but finally decided that the work is crucial if the landmark is to be preserved.

Monsters & Critics

Archaeologists speed up pace of Parthenon restoration
Apr 10, 2008, 11:49 GMT

Athens – The decades-long restoration effort of Athens’ famed Acropolis is set to speed up pace with the removal of a further 17 metopes from the ancient landmark for cleaning, the Culture Ministry said Thursday.

Officials from the Culture Ministry’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said of the 17 metopes, 14 will be from the west side of the Parthenon, which experts say, is in a ‘lamentable state.’

According to an article published in the Athens daily Kathimerini newspaper, another metope, depicting a centauromachy or a fight in which centaurs take part, will be taken down from the south side and two more from the north side of the monument.

Restoration of the pollution-ravaged friezes of the Acropolis first began in the mid-1970s.

The ongoing project has involved painstaking repairs on major monuments on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and Athena Nike temples and the Acropolis Walls.

The architectural masterpieces suffered from both pollution and a flawed reparation attempt in the 1930s, when workers used iron clamps in their repairs that eventually rusted and cracked the marble.

Efforts have gathered momentum in recent years mainly due to the Athens 2004 Olympics and British criticism that Greece has abandoned its ancient treasures to the forces of acid rain and pollution.

Archaeologists last year removed six metopes from the west side of the Parthenon and officials reportedly hesitated about approving the removal of an additional 17 metopes, fearing that it would leave the Parthenon bare.

They finally decided to proceed with the removal, saying the work is crucial if the landmark is to be preserved.

Preservation experts have used marble from the ancient quarried on Mount Pendeli, the site just north of Athens where the ancient Greeks originally found the marble used to build the Acropolis monuments.

Culture Ministry officials have said that all secondary work on the ancient monument will be completed by 2020.

Progress of the Parthenon restoration, 2.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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  1. William E.Phillips said,

    02.18.09 at 1:13 am

    Lets hope that funds can be raised to support the efforts bein g made
    to restore these great works of art andarchetecture which are such a
    great tribute the Greek nation.

    Sincerely: W. E. Phillips

  2. D Yarema said,

    08.11.09 at 4:55 am

    who cares what the british say they have basically raped the building themselfs are they going to offer the return of all that stone and statues they made off with the last century . i think you all are doing a great job and i hope to see this finnished one day my brother was there and said it was stunning then i unfortunatly cant travel so i am limited to what i can see here on the net and tv .keep up the fantastic job you are doing there .

  3. sandy mcmath said,

    08.29.09 at 2:52 pm

    Appreciate your efforts. Would be great to have more photos of completed work and sketches of proposed restoration. Spent 2 weeks “living” in the plakka in ’71 while on spring break from the LSE. Every morning at sunup a group of us would trek up to the acropolis with notebooks and sketch pads. A very special memory. Several actually spent their entire holiday working with some archeologists from the Greek antiquities dept. Please advise if students can still volunteer to help and, if so, the proper person to contact.. Thanks, SM

  4. Matthew said,

    09.01.09 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t have any details of whether people are able to volunteer I’m afraid. I’d sugget contacting the Greek Archaeological Service or the Acropolis directly would be the best option. Sorry I can’t help with this.

  5. Devin H said,

    07.08.10 at 10:44 pm

    Has anyone heard what the future holds for the reconstructed parthenon? Will it be a temple to Athene again, a museum, a church, or just a restored historical landmark?

  6. Bill Murray said,

    10.13.10 at 2:15 am

    I saw a tv show called Nova, they did a show on the parthenon. I was looking at an other way the columns could have been fit together so preciselly. When I saw the cedar wood pins in side, I thought they were used a center pin. Not only to center the stone after it was built but during construction. If you spin the blocks together using water or a lubricant, the stones would sand themselves into being fit. I think the builders did this to fit these stones. Maybe off to the side, then moved them into place after they were finished. The shape of the stones is kind of like a modern nut and bolt. The shape of the nut part is shaped and used as a way to spin the stone, maybe through adding wood dowels tied on the sides, like wrench, and then spin them. If you can use this in building the stones, please do so. I hope my discriptions may be understood.
    Thank you,
    Bill Murray
    Just a man with a thought about your stone work..

  7. Bill Velde said,

    06.02.11 at 3:04 am

    The British took the Elgin marbles because they were being looted and sold to rich collectors, the region was infested by corrupt governments who did nothing more about this theft than take their share of the spoils– and they thought these considerations outweighed the detraction from the original ruin. Why did they have to “save” the pediment sculpture? Because the Turks earlier in the 19th century had blown up the near-pristine building by using it as a munitions arsenal.
    Should they give them back? NO!
    I would rather see them in the British Museum than have them plastered into the “restored” and no-longer-original site. I know many will disagree, but this plaster-and-paste job is turning a priceless ruin into a simulacrum– it will end up looking like a government building, like the one that houses the Greek “national academy” or some such thing of fleeting importance.
    The ruins at Mesa Verde are a real hit with the tourists, but the results of the “stabilization” project shocked me– the tumble-down remnants have been epoxied together and look very much like a movie set. They aren’t the real thing!
    The Alamo set made for the 1960 movie, not far from San Antonio, gets more visitors than the real thing. Well, that’s fine with me, because the real thing still exists and is available for people who want to see a ruin– a sculpture created by nature, with the raw material being man’s artifacts. Turning a ruin into a simulacrum of the pristine artifact is an act of violence against the ruin, and an insult to the power of time to erode our arrogance in creating “imperishable” works. Ironic, ironic– beyond ironic.

  8. Matthew said,

    06.02.11 at 7:55 am

    The statement made above is not correct however, regarding the re-construction of the Parthenon, It has not (for many years) been the intention to put the Elgin Marbles back onto the Parthenon if they are returned. This fact was a large part of the reason for the construction of the New Acropolis Museum – to place the sculptures within sight of the monument, while protecting them from the elements & allowing viewers to see them close up easily.

  9. Bill Velde said,

    06.07.11 at 9:43 am

    An error of sorts– though if you read what I said, I didn’t assert that I knew what fate was intended or hoped for for the Elgin marbles– just that I would rather they stayed where they were.

    I think you’re diverting the focus from my main point, about aggressively reconstructing ruins. I’m not a throwback to the early 19th-century Romantics, but I do agree with what they say about the special nature of ruins. They show the power of time, and reduce man-made structures to something the Romantics thought “sublime” and awe-inspiring.

    What about that issue?

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