Climber drills bolts into ancient petroglyphs

April 19th, 2021

A climber installed three bolted routes into the ancient petroglyphs on the rock face of Sunshine Wall Slabs northwest of Arches National Park in Utah laboring under the ignorant misapprehension that the thousand-year-old Fremont culture rock art was modern graffiti. The Sunshine Slabs are well-known to climbers and there are already bolt routes installed that are responsibly placed not to endanger the petrogylphs. It is against the law to climb or near rock art or any other protected archaeological sites.

The bolts were discovered a week ago by Wyoming climbing guide Darrin Reay and reported on Facebook. The culprit was quickly discovered on the Mountain Project, a crowd-sourced database of climbing routes and online community. Richard Gilbert, a climber from Colorado Springs, Colorado, had posted about drilling bolts into the rock face in late March to create easy climbing routes for beginners and disabled climbers.

When the story broke wide, Gilbert claimed that he thought it was graffiti because one of the glyphs resembles the letter H which “did not exist in Native American languages.” Alas, he had no idea what he was talking about as it is not an H and even if it were, nobody knows anything about the language/s of the people who inhabited the area a thousand years ago.

Gilbert’s story unfolded largely through conversations on Mountain Project’s forums, where he says he first realized his error. “On Sunday night, I saw a post on my route [at Sunshine Slabs] and it said, ‘Hey, this is not graffiti, these are petroglyphs.’ I was like, Oh my gosh, I completely messed this up, I’m going to fix it right now,” he said. He changed the route descriptions on Mountain Project to steer climbers away from the area, drove back to the wall to fill in the bolt holes, and left a sign to draw attention to the petroglyphs.

“It’s wrong. It shouldn’t have happened. It’s just poor education on my part, and I do take full responsibility,” Gilbert says.

He returned to the area on Monday, April 12, and met with authorities from the Moab Bureau of Land Management to report the incident in person. “I told him this was my mistake, and asked what do I have to do to make sure other people aren’t paying for my mistake,” he said. The BLM office opened an investigation after the meeting and previous calls to report the incident, Gilbert said. (The BLM office did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.) According to the National Park Service, rock art like this is federally protected, and damaging acts can lead to felony and/or misdemeanor charges, with penalties that can include up to a ten-year prison sentence and $100,000 in fines.

It’s highly unlikely that he’ll suffer any such penalties as he has been forthcoming and is cooperating with authorities. The debacle has had the positive effect of launching a wider conversation about educating climbers to be conscious of cultural resources. Led by the Access Fund, a group of organizations dedicated to the responsible preservation of climbing areas have released a statement on the defacement of the Sunshine Slabs.

We unequivocally condemn the recent actions at Sunshine Wall, near Moab, Utah that compromised the integrity of petroglyphs, sacred Indigenous cultural artifacts.

It is essential that climbers understand the significance of petroglyphs, not only as a window into the past but as an ongoing and vital part of Indigenous culture and identity to this day, and are committed to protecting these sacred sites. The cultural and spiritual value of these places cannot be measured, and we firmly support efforts to protect them. We are currently reaching out to our friends and partners in the local and national tribal, climbing, and land management communities to discuss how to best proceed with the current situation and prevent such instances from occurring again.


Michelangelo’s David is largest 3D print in the world

April 18th, 2021

As one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Michelangelo’s David has been copied many, many times. Carved out of a massive single block of Carrara marble, Michelangelo’s David is 17 feet high and weighs 12,800 pounds, so every full-size copy was hard-won. When the original statue was taken out of the elements in the Piazza della Signoria to the protected confines of the Galleria dell’Accademia in 1873, a marble replica, also carved from a single massive block of white Carrara, was erected in its former location. The only other full-scale marble replica, made by  Sollazzini and Sons Studio of Florence for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, is now in the gardens of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium museum in St. Augustine, Florida.

Casts were easier to accomplish and a lot more common. In 1873, that same year the original David moved indoors, a bronze cast of the sculpture was installed in the newly-completed Piazzale Michelangelo. Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, had a life-sized plaster cast made as a gift for Queen Victoria in 1857. That copy is now on display in the V & A’s Cast Courts. A fiberglass replica was created in 2010 and installed on a buttress of the Duomo of Florence, David’s original intended location that never happened because it was so supremely impractical.

A new replica has now been created using 3D printing technology, creating an acrylic resin version of the original that is a precise twin. It began in December when the statue of David in the Galleria was laser-scanned and photographed in highest resolution. The digital details were then transmuted through the alchemy of the 3D printer into 14 pieces making up David’s whole. The pieces were assembled by restorers at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.

It was then moved to Nicolas Salvioli’s laboratory where restorers spent two months coating the resin statue with an inch-thick layer of Carrara marble dust mixed with glue. The team used this mixture to reproduce the bulging veins, the original finishes, smooth and rough areas, even chisel blows and flaws in the marble. The final product is the most minutely precise replica of Michelangelo’s masterpiece ever made, only far lighter at only 882 pounds.

The 3D printed David has been transported to Dubai where it will be the star of the Italian pavilion of the Dubai Expo held from October 1st, 2021, and March 2022.


A new model of Roman saddle construction

April 17th, 2021

There are no Roman cavalry saddles surviving intact today. Depictions of them can be found on statues and monuments — grand reliefs like that cavalry battle on the Mausoleum of the Julii in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (the two in southern France where Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night during his stay in the local asylum) as well as modest gravestones like that of Lucius Romanus, a Roman cavalryman of Illyrian origin who died while serving in what is now Cologne — so we know what they looked like.

The iconography shows that Roman saddles consisted of a padded seat with four horns, two in front projecting to the sides over the rider’s thighs, and two straight ones behind the rider supporting the buttocks. The horns served to distribute the weight of the rider away from the horse’s spine to its flanks in an era before stirrups. Because archaeological remains of saddles have so far been limited to metal horn plates and fragments of leather from the cover, the construction framework of the Roman cavalry saddle is still up for debate.

Roman military historian Peter Connolly pioneered research into the construction of the saddle, publishing  papers on the subject in the 1980s and 90s and creating dozens of experimental models. Based on contemporary depictions and his analysis of stress patterns from extant leather saddle covers, Connolly argued for a rigid wood frame topped by metal horn stiffeners and a leather casing. The problem with the solid wood frame solution is that it is heavy and there are stability issues.

A new study proposes a stuffed and padded structure rather than one of wood. The author first gathered information from 40 reenactors who ride on saddles that use the Connolly design. They confirmed, as Connolly had found, that the saddle works well for experienced riders at a walk, trot, canter and gallop (less so for inexperienced riders at a trot), but if you have to lean out of the saddle to use a weapon, stability plummets and constrains the range of motion.

Following up on these results, the author’s dissertation compared modern saddles of varying flap design (the part against which the rider’s thigh rests) and the flapless Roman saddle which utilises horns in front of and behind the rider on each corner of the saddle seat instead of stirrups. The fifteen participants in this follow-up project rode in four different saddle designs in walk, trot and canter, the Connolly saddle being one of these. […]

The Roman saddle compared favourably with the three modern saddles, but comments given by the participants of the saddle study referred more to the rigidity of the Connolly design rather than their ability to ride the horse. The main comment made was that the wooden side boards of the Connolly reconstruction prevented the riders from wrapping their leg around the horse and thereby influencing their stability.

Armed with this feedback, the study author made a saddle relying on flexible stuffing and padding for structure instead of wood. Inspired by 19th century California Vaquero saddles, the reconstructed Roman saddle was built with thatching straw stuffed into linen. The panels of the seat were made with pig skin; the horns with goat skin. The unwashed, lanolin-rich waterproof fleece of the Cotswold Lion, a sheep breed introduced to Britain by the Romans, was stuffed into the panels and horns.

The completed reconstruction saddle was inspected by a British Master Saddler and passed fit for form and function. This means that the saddle conformed to the principles of saddle design for the requirements of correct fit for the comfort of the horse. The saddle was then tested for rider comfort and utility on the mechanical horse in a comparison test with the Connolly saddle. A volunteer male rider of approximately 6ft in height, to satisfy Vegetius’ description of a cavalryman in Part 1 of his De re militari, rode in walk, trot and canter in each saddle.

It was noted that the contours of the new reconstruction’s panels were better at moulding themselves to the horse and there was no “bridging” of the panels, a feature to be avoided in modern saddle fitting. This bridging effect is where the panels do not conform to the horse’s back causing discomfort and riding problems. This bridging was present in the Connolly saddle and could only be rectified by adding a saddle pad with shims to level the saddle on the horse’s back. The rider also commented that the Connolly saddle held him in place like a cradle whereas the straw/fleece reconstruction did not fix him in place. The wooden horns of the Connolly saddle – which are known to break – were also uncomfortable after a period of cantering.

During the riding trials it was found that the new reconstruction’s horns were too flexible and highlighted the case for “stiffeners”, the bronze saddle horn covers found in the archaeological record. This was also noted when the rider adopted a light or half seat, that is rising out of the saddle from the strength of the thighs only as if making a sword or spear thrust. The requirement of bronze “stiffeners” to reinforce the wooden construction produced by Connolly has been questioned but it is clear from this reconstruction without wood that they would be necessary for the stability of the rider.

The new saddle construction weighs less than the Connolly saddle yet retains rigidity which is seen as a positive for the horse since it must also carry an armoured and armed rider. There is a need for further research to optimise the new reconstruction for girth placement and “stiffeners” before field trials can be conducted with live horses. A saddle cover has not yet been made to complete the reconstruction as the author is sourcing a blacksmith to manufacture “stiffeners” so that further experiments can be conducted.


80 ancient bronze mirrors found in Shaanxi cemetery

April 16th, 2021

More than 80 bronze mirrors have been unearthed at a 2,000-year-old cemetery in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Since excavations began in May 2020, more than 400 graves from the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.) through the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-9 A.D.) have been unearthed at the cemetery in Dabaozi village, Gaozhuang township. Many of the tombs were looted, but archaeologists have recovered more than 2,000 artifacts, primarily pottery and bronze objects.

The bronze mirrors mostly date to the later centuries of the Dabaozi Cemetery’s use, from the late Warring States Period to the late Western Han. They are circular and range in size from eight centimeters (three inches) to 22.1 cm (8.7 inches) in diameter. The largest of them is .5 cm (.2 inches) thick. They were found in different tombs, but most of them were in the same location: next to the head or upper body of the deceased. A fragment of silk found by one of the mirrors is believed to be all that remains of a silk bag the mirror would have been carried in when the tomb’s occupant was still alive. Said occupants were both men and women, so the mirrors were markers of wealth and societal status rather than gender.

Differences in the bronze casting process at different times accounts for differences in size and quality, and there are a selection of styles represented. The backs are decorated with geometric motifs, florals, lines and inscriptions including “Eternal Joy,” “Family Wealth” and “Long Memory.” The mirrors are in good condition, some of them even retain much of their original polished. One of them is so shiny you can see still your reflection in it.

According to historical records, in order to ensure the construction and service of the emperor’s mausoleum as well as to better supervise the aristocrats, Liu Bang, founder of the Han Dynasty [r. 202–195 B.C.], set up a centralized residential area for the nobility, which was located about 4 km from the cemetery. Therefore, the ancient tombs are believed to belong to the dynasty’s upper-class residents, according to the researchers.


Wax bust of Flora definitely not by Leonardo

April 15th, 2021

A wax bust whose attribution to Leonardo da Vinci once caused art historians to threaten violence has been conclusively shown to be a modern work from the 18th century at the earliest.

The bust of Flora, goddess of flowers and springtime, now in the National Museums in Berlin was spotted by general director of the Royal Museum of Berlin Wilhelm von Bode in an antique store in London in 1907. Her downcast eyes, half-smile and finely-modeled features impressed Bode as a work by Leonardo da Vinci. German art historian Max Friedländer, assistant director of the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum under Bode, was convinced by its high quality and wear patterns that it was a Renaissance work. Bode bought it for a princely sum (185,000 Goldmark) in 1909 and announced with much fanfare that it was a work by no less a Renaissance luminary than Leonardo da Vinci, the only known wax sculpture surviving from the period.

Bode was held in high regard in Germany. He had been involved in the creation of a national collection for the royal museums since he was hired as assistant curator of sculpture in 1872 and his career would span the entire five decades of the second German Empire from Unification to Republic. Driven to make Berlin a capital of the arts on the same level with Paris, Vienna, London, St. Petersburg and Rome, he had often been in competition against his counterparts in developing the great public collections of Europe, including a long-standing bitter dispute with Giovanni Morelli, an eminent Italian scholar, parliamentarian and strong advocate against the sale of Italy’s cultural patrimony to deep-pocketed foreign museums, on attribution methodology.

The acquisition of Flora was seen as a huge coup for Germany’s cultural institutions. The bust had been snatched out from under Britain’s nose and now Germany had a unique work of the world’s most famous and least prolific Old Master. The braggadocio was immediately met with pushback. Within months, the Times published a story contesting the attribution and alleging Flora was in fact it was created by 19th century British sculptor and photographer Richard Cockle Lucas who had copied it in 1860 from a painting of Flora in the Hermitage once attributed to Leonardo but later determined to be the work of his student and right-hand-man Francesco Melzi. Lucas’ son Albert Dürer Lucas, then 80 years old, swore that his father had made it and that Albert had helped stuff old newspapers and wood chips into the hollow of the bust.

Even though newspapers and wood chips were indeed found inside, including an article from 1840, Bode dismissed out of hand the possibility that Lucas was the sculptor. Lucas, Bode contended, was simply not good enough to model so superlative a piece. Unlike Flora, Lucas’ known wax pieces were greyish in color, lacked any polychromy and still smelled of wax. Bode was sure that at most, Lucas had been employed to fill its empty core to reinforce the structure and had fashioned some arms to match.

In the next two years, more than 730 heated articles were written debating the attribution. There were debates on the floor of the Prussian parliament. Two scholars challenged each other to a duel. Bode died in 1929, still convinced that his attribution to Leonardo was correct. The debate got less aggressive over the decades, but never died down. Even modern technology hasn’t been able to settle the issue conclusively, because wax, as it happens, is a complicated medium to date.

Albert Dürer Lucas said his father made the bust by melting down a bunch of burned candle ends. Analysis of wax samples found it is composed almost entirely of spermaceti, a waxy substance produced in the head cavity of the sperm whale commonly used in 19th century candles, and a small amount of beeswax. The decay of C14 occurs in the atmosphere in a calculable way, but under water the C14 is absorbed much more slowly and is much older than the carbon absorbed on land. The Marine Reservoir Effect makes radiocarbon dating results difficult to calibrate because you would need to know that specific whale’s full biography — track it movements from equator to ice shelves — to produce any semblance of accurate results.

An attempt to radiocarbon date Flora in the 1980s was able to exclude the Renaissance period, but the results were not reliable as the marine calibration issue remained thorny. The new study utilized two calibration curves, marine and terrestrial, and applied them to samples of the wax from Flora as well as to another work by Lucas, an 1850 relief of Leda and the Swan. The result was a date range of between 1704 and 1950, admittedly wide, but it conclusively precludes that the bust was made by Leonardo or anyone else in the Renaissance.

The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports and can be read here.


Unique Roman complex found in Scarborough

April 14th, 2021

A large Roman complex that is the first of its kind ever found in Britain and could well be unique in the entire empire has been unearthed in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. It was uncovered during an archaeological excavation at the site of a planned real estate development. A geophysical survey indicated the presence of something of interest under the surface, but archaeologists had no idea how remarkable that something would prove be.

The floorplan of the structures unearthed so far is about the size of two tennis courts. The layout of the complex is what makes it so unusual. There is a cylindrical central room/tower with four rectangular rooms leading off of it left, right, top and bottom, forming a rough cross shape. There is also a bathhouse and other structures. Archaeologists hypothesize that it was a luxurious elite villa or perhaps a religious sanctuary. It may have been both at different times.

Karl Battersby, corporate director, business and environmental services at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “This is a remarkable discovery, which adds to the story of Roman settlement in North Yorkshire.

“Work by North Yorkshire archaeologists has already established the buildings were designed by the highest-quality architects in Northern Europe in the era and constructed by the finest craftsmen.

“Because of the significance of this, it is excellent to see that the layout of the new housing has been redesigned so this important part of our history can be preserved.

“There will be further work on the finds and environmental samples to try to establish exactly what this enigmatic site was and why it was created so far from other Roman centres.”

The find is so significant that Historic England will recommend it be granted protected scheduled monument status. The developers have already gone back to the drawing board and redesigned the housing estate so that the archaeological remains will be part of a public greenspace that was originally going to be somewhere else on the property.


Off-duty Carabinieri spot looted Roman statue in Brussels shop

April 13th, 2021

A marble statue of a togate man that was stolen a decade ago has been returned to Italy after it was discovered in a Brussels antique store by off-duty officers from Italy’s Carabinieri Art Squad. They were in Brussels on a business trip and after work one day they went for a stroll through the Sablon neighborhood of the historic upper city which is known for its many antique shops. The headless Togatus statue in one of the stores caught their eyes. It bore the telltale damage of excavation tools, the kind of sloppy work done by looters eager to get their payday out of the ground quickly.

The officers didn’t enter the store, but did take a photograph from the street. When they got home, they looked up the statue in Leonardo, the Carabinieri’s database of stolen antiquities, their suspicions were confirmed. A statue matching their picture was on the list as having been stolen in November 2011 from the Villa Marini Dettina, an archaeological park outside of Rome.

The statue dates to the 1st century B.C. The toga has stylistic features typical of late Republican figures: it is ankle-length instead of floor-length, draped comparatively narrowly around the legs and has a short arm sling that positions the right hand at the chest. The right arm, bent at the elbow and confined in the draped sling with only the hand emerging is the uniform pose of Republican togate statues.

Togate statues and reliefs were widespread in the Imperial Rome, especially in funerary monuments. Only Roman citizens were allowed to wear the toga, and a boy’s first toga marked his entry into manhood, so they were a powerful iconographic representation of Roman identity, freedman status and manhood. Statues from the Republican era, togate or otherwise, are much more rare. This one, headless, significantly worn and with simple draping, is worth an estimated $120,000.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Rome alerted Belgian authorities, and the statue was seized as stolen property. The investigation has revealed what looks to be an antiquities trafficking operation, not just a single dirty deal made without asking any questions. An Italian businessman operating under a Spanish alias is alleged to have received the statue in Italy and arranged for its smuggling to Brussels. He has been referred for prosecution, charged with receiving stolen goods and illegal export.

The Togatus was repatriated to Italy in February and is back at the Villa Marini Dettina.


Giambologna strutting ostrich for sale

April 12th, 2021

One of only three known examples of a finely chased bronze ostrich from the workshop of Renaissance master Giambologna will be sold auction next week. It was previously owned by writer, parliamentarian and avid collector Horace Walpole and has been owned by the same family since it was sold by his great-nephew along with the rest of his extraordinary collection of art and antiquities 180 years ago. The pre-sale estimate is £80,000-£120,000 ($110,000-$165,000).

Citing his impressionistically modelled bronze birds created for the grotto in the garden of the Medici Villa at Castello, near Florence, in 1567, historic scholarship has attributed the ostriches to Giambologna. Indeed, other bronze models of ostriches attributed to Giambologna include an example in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and in the Hermitage, St Petersburg. While these examples demonstrate that the ostrich was a popular subject during the period and was clearly part of Giambologna’s oeuvre, the Austrian and Russian examples lack the drama, potency and spontaneity of movement demonstrated by the three models previously discussed. Although some sources still attribute the models to Giambologna, in recent years the scholarship has begun to diverge, with some experts now attributing the work to Giambologna’s student, and heir to his studio, Pietro Tacca (1577-1640). This pivot is in part due to the stylistic similarity observed in Tacca’s delineation of the tails of his bronze horses to the dynamic and vivacious rendering of the ostriches’ plumage.

Horace Walpole, who was as avid a documenter as he was a collector, noted in his journal that he had bought it in Paris in 1765 or 1766. It joined the rest of his vast collection at Strawberry Hill, his Gothic Revival villa in Twickenham, London. In the exhaustive 1774 inventory of Strawberry Hill, the bronze ostrich is recorded as being placed in a window between a bronze Ibis and a bronze replica of the Laocoön Group, one of dozens of fine works of art and antiquities in the first-floor Gallery. It kept company with portraits by Rubens, Van Dyck and Lely, landscapes, seascapes, busts of Roman emperors and empresses, altars, urns, antique Japanese commodes, porcelains, coins and much, much more. Walpole described it is “an ostrich, very spirited.”

His great-nephew reused the description in the catalogue of the Great Sale of Strawberry Hill in April 1842. It was listed as “a fine antique bronze of an Ostrich, very spirited in effect, on a bronze scroll stand.” It was acquired by wealthy landowner John Dunn-Gardner and his descendants are the current owners.

The other two known examples of this striding ostrich are now in the collections of the Louvre and the Fitzwilliam Museum. The Louvre’s is the earliest recorded example, first documented in 1689, and it also the most active and dynamic and because of this experts believe it was the latest of the three. The Fitzwilliam’s is believed to be the earliest, as it has a less pronounced S-curved neck and less dramatic plumage. The example up for auction is midway between the two in dynamism and movement, so is thought to be the middle ostrich child.


Roman gallery found under Topkapı courtyard

April 11th, 2021

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman-era gallery under the First Courtyard of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. The gallery was discovered in the course of landscaping works in the lower gardens of the palace. These areas have long been closed to visitors and the Roman gallery was found during underground research as part of the landscape study.

The gallery, of which three sections are extant, begins under the Imperial Gate to the right. A Byzantine-era cistern was previously discovered right above the gallery, and it’s possible the Roman gallery was dedicated to the same purpose or was part of a network of subterranean passageways connected to a cistern that has yet to be found. Constantinople was absolutely bristling with underground cisterns. There were literally hundreds of them, so this could be another one of them, or it could have had another use entirely when first built only to be repurposed as part of a cistern network in the Byzantine era. It is a five-minute walk from the dramatically gorgeous century Basilica Cistern built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century.

Construction on Topkapı Palace began in 1459, only six years after the fall of the decrepit Eastern Roman Empire and the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II. Located on a promontory overlooking the Bosporus, it is one of the highest points on the Sea of Marmara and was the site of the ancient Greek city’s acropolis.

Research is ongoing as the landscaping project continues. While there are no immediate plans for an archaeological excavation of the gallery site, that is possible depending on what the current survey reveals. Ideally, the gallery would be open to the public when the landscaping is complete and the courtyards open, but it will have to be assessed for structural safety before becoming available for tours.


Roman safe found in villa in Spain

April 10th, 2021

A rare strongbox from the 4th century A.D. has been discovered in the Casa del Mitreo, a Roman villa in west central Spain. The arca ferrata, a wooden chest armed with bronze cladding and iron spikes, was used as a safe for valuables — coin, jewelry, textiles, important documents — in Roman homes and businesses. Because they are mostly made of wood, only four others are known to survive. Three of the extant examples were preserved under the extraordinary conditions of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The only other arca ferrata found in Spain was discovered in Tarazona, Aragon, northeastern Spain.

The domus was dubbed Casa del Mitreo because of a sanctuary believed to be Mithreum was discovered nearby. The villa was built in the late 1st, early 2nd century and was remodeled and expanded several times over the next centuries. It was located outside the ancient Roman city Emerita Augusta (modern-day Mérida).

“It is unclear what the owner did for a living. But it is clear that it was probably a wealthy family because the surface of the house is around 3,386 square meters (36,447 square feet), with 15 rooms, including the bathrooms and the kitchen, as well as four other rooms,” said [Archaeologist Ana Maria Bejarano] Osario.

Osario said: “It is unclear what they did for a living, but it might be something related to commerce or business, and they could even have been using the four extra rooms themselves to sell their wares.”

The house also had two more rooms on the second floor, including the one that collapsed during the fire, the causes of which are unknown.

The remains of the arca ferrata were first discovered in 1994 during excavations in a room of a building that had suffered a fire in the 4th century. At the time, the condition of the exposed organic remains was precarious, so the team decided to leave it in situ and prevent further deterioration as much as possible.

It wasn’t until 2017 that a comprehensive conservation and consolidation project at the Casa del Mitreo tackled the burned room once more. It was fully excavated and documented, as were the paintings and artifacts inside the room. It is misshapen from the effects of the fire which collapsed the roof onto the coffer and drove it into the ground. Today it measures 9.8 by 4.9 feet, but its original measurements are unknown.

Archaeologists consolidated the remains to keep the metal parts from oxidizing and the wood from decay. It was removed intact and transferred to the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Spain (IPCE) of the Ministry of Culture and Sports where it will be studied, stabilized and restored for future display.





April 2021


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