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THE SHELTER ON THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO EPIKOURIOS Rosemary Jeffreys r.jeffreys@ucl.ac.

uk

INTRODUCTION th The Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae was built in the late 5 century B.C. Bassae is at 1130m and the area gets relatively high rainfall for Southern Greece, estimated at 1300mm per annum [1], and it suffers cold winters. It is also in a seismic zone. A shelter was erected in 1987 which has had a significant impact on how the temple is seen in the landscape (figures 1 and 2). The total number of visitors to Bassae is small, around 43,000 per annum [2], partly because of its remoteness, but also partly because the view of the temple is obscured by the canopy. The body responsible for the conservation works on the monument is the Committee for the Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae, which reports to the Central Archaeological Council in the Greek Ministry of Culture. Much of the conservation work on the temple is funded by the EU to promote economic regeneration of the area. Two major earthquakes in the 1980s sparked concern about the Temple. A series of emergency measures was embarked upon which included the erection of the canopy. A study was published in 1995 [1] which looked in detail at the effectiveness of the canopy, and proposed further specific conservation measures. The main problems in the Temple are due to a local Maastrichtian Age limestone being used for the foundations and the major part of the superstructure, and to the presence of clays in the th foundations and superstructure. The collapse of the roof in the 7 century with the Slav invasions has allowed rainwater to penetrate, causing the clay layer in the foundations to erode, which was followed by settlement and which in turn caused damage to the superstructure. A further contributory th factor has been human action, including the removal of the frieze in the 18 century (now in the British Museum). Frost, rainwater and atmospheric dampness and rapid changes of temperature, particularly during the spring, have caused major damage. CONSERVATION MEASURES During the early 1990s the detached stones were collected and grouped outside (figure 3). Conservation interventions on the Temple started in 2001, but the twenty years estimated in 1995 [3] will not be enough: at the present rate of progress, the works will last at least another 20 years. The need to strengthen the foundations has made the restoration of the temple a major project, involving the removal and repositioning of some 1500 stone blocks, each weighing approximately 1 tonne and the moving of 37 columns, each weighing approximately 13 tonnes [4]. The first phase, begun in 2001 on the north pteron, is now complete. The clay in the foundations has been stabilised using lime and cement and titanium clamps have been used to join the blocks, with suitable sheathing [5]. Cracks in the stone blocks have been filled with a thin mortar made of volcanic soil, lime and water, and a more viscous mixture used to fill the voids [6]. A cement mortar is used to join fragments to the blocks. Local stone is used throughout. The aim of the work on the stones is to prevent the entrance of moisture but not to provide them with a coating which will allow them to remain outdoors permanently without any shelter. The conservation work is able to continue throughout the year. Explanatory displays have been mounted inside the canopy, and a booklet has been published [7]. THE SHELTER The shelter was described at the time it was erected as a temporary canopy to shield the temple from the prevailing bad weather conditions [8]. Many of the problems with shelters mentioned in the academic literature [9] can be seen with the canopy at Bassae. The main reason for the erection of the canopy was to protect the monument from frost and rain; a further factor, though an unconscious one, may have been to make a gesture when the monument was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1986. The design is eyecatching, but arguably not suited to the landscape. It is not clear that conservation criteria were spelt out when the canopy was commissioned. No continuous environmental monitoring is carried out but a specific project took place from 1990 to 1993 with assistance from UNESCO. The main effects of the canopy were found to be that it had reduced the number the number of hours when temperature fell below zero, and increased the relative humidity [1]. On average, the air temperature inside was about 2C higher in winter but there was frost inside for at least 207 hours on 20 days in 1990 as compared with 315 hours over 27 days outside [10]. The daily temperature range showed more extremes outside than inside the canopy. The average relative humidity inside the canopy was over 70% for much of the winter, spring and autumn, whereas the average outside was lower in these months, often by as much as 20%. The report proposed additional heating and better ventilation, as well as better protection for the detached stones. The sides of the canopy are now rolled up about 1.5 m for about 6 months in most years, but the other improvements have not so far been made. It provides a physical barrier against rainwater and has over the last 30 years saved an estimated 0.2mm which would have been lost due to weathering. It has also reduced plant life. The benefits can be seen in an appreciable deterioration in the stones which have been kept outside the canopy [11]. The increase in relative humidity is however of concern.

Figure 1: the Temple in 1902

Figure 2: the Temple in 2008

THE FUTURE Long term options The temple was originally designed to have a roof, and it cannot be expected to function without one. A roof or cover as opposed to a fully encasing structure should be sufficient once all the foundations have been consolidated. However, before firm conclusions are reached, monitoring and further study should be resumed, comparing in particular the position of unworked stones which are left exposed with that of stones sheltered from above. At Bassae, options might include a glass roof which would have less visual impact than a canopy. A further option may be reconstruction of the original roof, which would be the best answer visually, and provide a safe housing for some of the detached stones, but would require a great deal of further study. A third possibility would be a new, seasonal, shelter, which would protect the monument from the elements during the winter months, and allow visitors to see it in its proper setting during the summer. Medium term options The monument needs shelter from frost and rain in the parts of the monument where no conservation work has yet been done on the foundations. The workers also need protection inside the Temple while conservation work continues. The current membrane however needs replacement. Complete replacement of the temporary canopy is unlikely to be an option for financial reasons. One alternative possibility might be to retain the supporting struts of the canopy and replace the membrane with a lighter fabric which could be removed in the warmer months. An idea of how the site might look can be gained from photographs taken while the canopy was being erected (figure 4). This would be an improvement, visually. However, removing and replacing the membrane every few months would require a significant investment of resources. As a minimum, the opportunity should be taken when the membrane is replaced to have a fabric which provides better ventilation and controllable vents. Extra heating should be introduced during cold snaps in winter, and the relative humidity reduced, particularly in spring and autumn, through improved ventilation and/or dehumidifiers. Short-term recommendations Environmental monitoring should resume, with data loggers placed inside and outside the temple, and also inside the stone. This will show what is happening now, and allow a rational decision based on evidence to be taken for the long term future. Urgent consideration should be given to how best to protect the detached stones during the winter, probably by a further shelter.
Figure 3: some of the detached stones in 2007 Figure 4: erection of the canopy in 1987

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND REFERENCES


Figures 1 and 4 are from the archive of the Committee for the Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios, Andritsaina, Greece and are reproduced here with the Committees permission. This poster quotes from a dissertation submitted for an M.A in Principles of Conservation at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL in 2008 with the permission of the Director. The author is grateful to her supervisor at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, Mr T. Williams, and to other members of the teaching staff, including in particular Dr C. Price and Dr D. Sully for their help. She is also most grateful to the Committee for the Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae for access to their archive and for the assistance of its President, Dr A. Mantis and of the members of its staff in her research, in particular Mr K. Papadopoulos and Dr K. Tzortzi. [1] Theoulakis P. Temple of Apollo Epikourios: study of stone deterioration; proposed conservation methods, Athens (in Greek, with summary in English), 1995. [2] Figures based on ticket sales, provided by the Committee to the author in March 2008. [3] Karagiorga-Stathacopoulou Th. The Preservation of the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae in Phigaleia, Ministry of Culture, Athens (1995). [4] Papadopoulos K. Temple of Apollo Epikourios structural restoration study, Athens (1995). [5] Papadopoulos K. The restoration of the north faade of the temple of Apollo Epikourios in Protection of Historical Buildings PROHITCH 09 ed. Mazzolani, Taylor &Frances Group, London (2000) 971-976. [6] Topa H. , , , unpublished (2005). [7]Tzortzi K. The temple of Apollo Epikourios: A journey through space and time, Athens, Archaeological Receipts Fund (2001). [8] Ministry of Culture The Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae: Project for saving one of the most significant temples of the Classical Period, Athens (1986). [9] e.g. Palumbo G. Sheltering an archaeological structure in Petra Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites volume 5 (2001) 35-44. [10]Theoulakis P. 1991 , unpublished. [11] Topa H., XIII Ephorate, personal communication June 2009.