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Conservation and Restoration of the Wall Paintings from the Episcopal Basilica at Stobi, Macedonia

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Published on Aug 16, 2011

The fragile glory of the Early Christian frescos in Stobi, Macedonia, is being preserved thanks to a grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, a unique type of grant for projects that reflect the rich cultural and historical diversity of the people of Macedonia. The main goal of the project is to perform conservation work on the unique wall paintings in the Episcopal basilica at the site of the ancient town of Stobi, capital of the former Roman province Macedonia Secunda.

The Episcopal basilica at Stobi is the oldest Christian church discovered in Macedonia. In fact, the site consists of two buildings, reconstructed and renovated in several phases, which are known as the Old Episcopal Basilica, or the Early Church, and the New Episcopal Basilica.

The frescos on the southern wall of the Old Episcopal Basilica, discovered during a combined Yugoslav-American excavation project in the 1970s, were removed from the Basilica walls but remained in situ in a storage depot. They will be restored during this project and then displayed in a museum next to the archeological site. Those on the northern wall, discovered during the 1980s were removed from the walls in 2004. They are badly damaged because of inadequate treatment and poor storage conditions.

The conservation of the frescos is being performed in five general phases:

1.Preparatory works.
2.Removal of the frescoes.
3.Transfer of the frescoes from their temporary location in the depot to aluminum honeycomb plates.
4.Conservation work and cleaning of the calcification.
5.Presentation of the frescoes at a museum near the Stobi site.

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