Treating the mosaics

The alarming conditions of certain mosaics led to a decision to remove all thirteen Late Antique pavements and the single Early Empire mosaic – a total surface area of 186 sq. metres of opus tesselatum. This was carried out, according to a proven procedure of the Toulouse restoration workshop, by the firm Technik Art Safety (Raymond Rogliano and Michel Compan). After a life-size tracing of the pavements on plastic film, a reversible gauze and canvas adhesive was placed over each mosaic to hold it together; metal blades were then inserted between the mosaic and its base to separate them.

The panels, which were removed according to a strict calpinage were then transported to the workshop for the transfer stage. This began with the cleaning of the obverse, which allowed the "hidden" side of the mosaics to be observed for the first time. Based on similar cases, modern materials (alveolar sheets of aluminium and resin mortar) were selected as the new support.

When restoring compositions with a great many lacunae, the reconstructions proposed in the scientific literature serve as a starting point. Collegial discussions provide appropriate solutions, ranging from simple suggestions as to the décor's main lines all the way to case-by-case examinations of completing missing sections with monochrome tesserae. The mosaics were returned to the site in 1999, more than ten years after they were removed.

Medias

Interactive document - View of restoration workshop

View of restoration workshop

After cleaning the mosaic, a life-sized tracing is made using plastic film. This will allow archaeologists to replace the various parts once they have been restored.
© Raymond Rogliano
Interactive document - View of restoration workshop

View of restoration workshop

Stabilising the tesselatum, using layers of gauze and hessian and vinyl plastic glue.
© Raymond Rogliano