In Pompeii, the Superintendent has entrusted to the Enea Agency - who takes care of new technologies, energy and sustainable development - an experimental analysis model of the roof to develop preventive maintenance plans.
The team of researchers will analyze structures, wood and steel built in the Roman domus (house) dating back to the second century BC.
The work entrusted to Enea’s team aims to create an experimental model of analysis that can be applied to other domus with a view to preventive maintenance, based on knowledge and continuous monitoring of the artifacts to ensure the conservation and the safety of the archaeological site.
Enea’s team has moved from their centers located in Bologna, Casaccia and Brasimone some cutting-edge technologies that are different from each other because they are used on different kinds of materials that need to be analyzed, like wood and concrete.
As Bruno Carpani, the scientific director of the campaign, explains: “In this survey campaign, which wants to capture the data required to define the maintenance operations, we fielded a greater number of research tools than in the past. With the work we are doing at the Villa dei Misteri we aim to make the first monitoring and diagnostic model that can be applied to other domus with similar types of coverage”.
They have already performed surveys on the environmental vibrations with high sensitivity seismometers. “This time we focused on the frescoes room and the atrium roof adjacent to the same room – as the research director of Enea, Paolo Clemente, explained - and we have developed a sophisticated mathematical model that will allow us to optimally evaluate the conditions of this area”.
On the wooden beams a thermo hygrometer has been used to measure the level of humidity. Then they made a special test method that provides the combined use of a detector, to test the degree of surface hardness, and some ultrasounds, to search any discontinuity within the sample. The team repeated these operations with extreme care and precision, in three different parts of the beam, in the middle and on two lateral supports.
The other tool used in Villa dei Misteri is called “the Resistograph”. Thanks to a needle 40 cm long the team of experts has been able to record the homogeneity and the compactness of the wood. They also used a sonde to collect some wood samples useful to identify the species of wood – probably chestnut or a variety of pitch-pine.
And to analyze the beams the experts used another tool capable of identifying the exact assembly position inside the beam, using magnetic fields capable of interacting with iron. Moreover they have taken some concrete samples - which will be analyzed in the laboratories of the Department of Structural Engineering of the University Federico II of Naples- to evaluate the compressive strength and the depth of carbonation, which is the process of interaction of lime with carbon dioxide that indicates a reduction of the pH of the cement paste, causing the oxidation of iron within the beam itself.
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