Long-Term and Sustainable Approach to Preserve Ancient Mosaic Heritage: The Case Study of Mosaic Pavement Located at the “Sanctuary of Pan,” Pnyka (Athens)

  • Ekaterini Ftikou
  • Panagiotis Theodorakeas
  • Eleni Cheilakou
  • Maria Koui


In the historical center of Athens, surviving mosaic pavements, dating back to the Roman times, can be found in several archeological sites. The awareness of their increasing damage has resulted in a great effort to preserve them. In this sense, this paper intends to propose an innovative and user-friendly procedure. This is based on nondestructive techniques investigation, which could be included in a long-term and sustainable approach to preserve the ancient mosaic heritage. As a case study, a mosaic pavement dated back to the Roman period, located on the ancient hill of Pnyka, was investigated by means of infrared thermography (IR thermo) and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technique. Both techniques assessed the deterioration state and the conservation treatment previously applied on the aforementioned structure substrate. Moreover, samples from the substrate mortar were analyzed in the laboratory by means of advanced methods, such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and differential thermal analysis-thermogravimetry (DTA-TG). The results derived from this study verify that nondestructive testing techniques are very suitable for the inspection of mosaic pavements, providing useful information concerned with the structural integrity of the mosaic, revealing, also, its preservation state. In addition, supplementary analysis of mortar samples aims to the characterization of the constituent materials and the better understanding of decay factors.


Ancient Mosaic Substrate Mortar Analysis NDTs 



Acknowledgements are attributed to the Doc-Culture research project entitled “Development of an Integrated Information Environment for assessment and documentation of conservation interventions to cultural works/objects with nondestructive techniques (NDTs),” which is coordinated and managed by NTUA MIS: 379472. The 3-year project began in April 2012 and is co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund, ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)-Research Funding Program: THALES, Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ekaterini Ftikou
    • 1
  • Panagiotis Theodorakeas
    • 2
  • Eleni Cheilakou
    • 2
  • Maria Koui
    • 3
  1. 1.Ministry of Culture, Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.National Technical University of Athens, Materials Science & Engineering Department, NDT-Lab, School of Chemical EngineeringAthensGreece
  3. 3.School of Chemical EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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