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The armed equestrian statue
The bronze statue depicts an armed equestrian. Only the torso of the statue has been preserved. The statue dates to the middle Hellenistic Era and was found in the sea area of Kalymnos island.
In the one hand the statue holds a leaden object and bears a sheath. Part of the metal sward is preserved. The statue weights 154 kg. The decorative motives of the statue's wear include engravings and inceptions of bronze stripes and figures. The conservation of the statue took place in the laboratory of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.
The statue was covered by thick layers of white/whitish accretion and its mechanic durability is medium. The statue is stable, even though there are several cracks and holes, mainly at the lower part of the body.
Considering the applied conservation method the main issue has been the preservation of the initial surface, wherever it has been possible. Therefore the conservators tried to preserve and highlight the layers of the corroded products and of the metal surface as well as to stabilize and to protect the layer from further corrosion. The first stage of the conservation included the desalination of the statue in a special water tank. Mechanical means such as scalper, brush, ultrasound scraper and buffer have been applied for cleaning of the statue. A manual vibrating electric device combined with scalper and other sculpture's tools have been used for cleaning the inner and outer part of the statue. The broken parts of the statue or the parts with crevice corrosion have been bonded with Paraloid B72. Crevice corrosion has been strengthened internally with layers of fiberglass mat. Due to active corrosion at the surface of the statue a solution containing benzene 3% in ethanol has been applied with compresses. Paraloid B72 8% in acetone and aerosil as matting agent has been used at the surface of the statue.
The surface as well as the decorative and constructive details of the statue have been revealed by the end of the conservation process. The statue, placed in suitable environment in terms of temperature and humidity, has been reinforced and protected from further corrosion.
The torso of the armed equestrian allows us to study its construction technique and its decoration. Engraved and incised, elaborate decorative motives have been revealed beneath the concretion layer, created due to the marine environment by the end of the conservation. Furthermore, stripes following the incised decoration appeared, which are probably traces of color for further decoration. Generally the scholars have pointed out the presence of color in bronze statues. Yet, this decoration aspect has not been studied sufficiently.
The inner part of the statue (close to the waist and the lower part of the statue's wear) was reinforced assuming in the antiquity while the right arm of the equestrian was repaired also in the antiquity. Seams, close to elbow and hand, with traces of material for sealing are present.
After the removal of the concretion in the inner part of the statue, a material similar to wax in black color has been detected. It may be a trace of tar or a similar material used for the sealing or the reinforcement of the weak parts of the statue.
Further study of the material focusing on specification of the composition and the properties will show the functional role of the statue.
As a conclusion, after the conservation of the statue new information was revealed allowing a perspective for further study.


Funding: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Swiss Confederation

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Year:

01/01/2009 - 31/12/2013

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Personnel:

Smaragda Symeonidou
Conservator

Antigoni Leakou
Conservator

Bibliography:

  • , Bertholon, R., Relier, C., “Les Metaux Archaeologic”, στο Berducou, M., C. ( επιμ. ), La conservation en Archaeologie, Paris,, Masson, 1990, pp. 163-221
  • , Cronyn, J.M., The Elements of Archaeological Conservation, Routledge, London, 1990
  • , Selwin, L., Metals and Corrosion, Canadian Conservation Institute, Canada, 2004
  • , Schotte, B., Adriaens, A., “Treatments of Corroded Lead Artefacts”, Studies in Conservation 51, 2006, p.1-8
  • , Horie, C.,V., Materials for Conservation , Oxford,, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1987

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