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Title: The effects of modern restoration techniques on the prehistoric temples of the Maltese Islands
Authors: Tampone, Gennaro
Vannucci, Sergio
Keywords: Megalithic temples -- Malta
Antiquities -- Collection and preservation
Malta -- Antiquities
Megalithic temples -- Conservation and restoration -- Malta
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: ICOMOS
Citation: International Council on Monuments and Sites 8th General Assembly and International Symposium, "Old cultures in new worlds". Washington, D.C. : US/ICOMOS, 1987. p. 484-491
Abstract: In the hurried and superficial contemporary world, aware but insufficiently respectful as we are of ancient building techniques, the ease with huge modern architectonic elements are moved and positioned can induce us to' forget the hard work and care employed by the ancient builder of megalithic buildings for a correct rendering of their design. We also tend to underestimate his great accuracy of execution. The pre-historic megalithic temples of the Maltese Islands, included in UNESCO's list of monuments of world importance, are to be considered among the greatest examples of architecture and structural systems of all time. The building of the 'temples was the result of the combined ingeniousness, skill, accuracy and hard work of entire communities. The ancient builders exploited the weight of the enormous monoliths and the mechanical properties of the stone, taking advantage of the reciprocal action arising out of the contrasting weight of the blocks leaning one against the other; a simple but reiterated system of hollows or embeddments and bosses was also adopted. The temples are undergoing severe and irreversible degradation. The exposed surfaces thus manifest typical "corrosion" phenomena (at times in the form of true alveoli) caused by the dissolution of the calcium carbonate by meteoric: waters which is enhanced by the salt-laden atmosphere, and also superficial disaggregation, together with the formation of crusts due to both thermal variations and the absorbed water. The prevalence of one or another of these mechanisms depends upon the structural characteristics of the stone, which vary according to its original stratigraphic level, the degree of exposure of the area, its vicinity to the sea, etc.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCASHArc

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