Integration of Finite Element and Graphic Methods in the Study of the Government Complex in Caesarea Maritima (IL)
Caesarea Maritima is one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel. Excavations and studies have been carried out on it since the mid-20th century and have unearthed ruins of the ancient Herodian, Roman, Byzantine and Crusader monuments and buildings.
This paper focuses on the Roman government complex, placed to the south of the harbour and dating back to the late 1st century. It was originally organised on two storeys, with the lower constituted by several barrel vaults functioning as substructures for the main rooms at the upper level. Nowadays, structures of the first floor are just poorly conserved, while those at the ground floor are better preserved, especially as regards the four masonry vaults of the Western group, originally developing for almost 30 m and still partially standing after two millennia of history.
The aim of the present work is to analyze the current state of conservation of the complex. In particular, the deformation of the Western vaults are evaluated through the integration of two procedures: the finite element method, to perform structural linear analyses on a three-dimensional numerical model, and the graphic method, to identify the thrust lines in each vault section by the funicular polygons.
Results point out that the loads borne by vaults nowadays are not the main cause of their deformed shape: on the contrary, it must be searched in the past actions. However, the current conditions turn out to be precarious, thus highlighting the need of adopting proper measures for safeguarding the archaeological ruins.
KeywordsArchaeological heritage Conservation Finite element method Funicular polygon
The authors gratefully thank the staff of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) of Caesarea for their logistic support, help and collaboration.
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