The Roman City Of Zeugma (Turkey) Conservation Project
CCA, Centro di Conservazione Archeologica – Roma
In May of 2000, the New York Times published a cry of alarm for the Roman city of Zeugma, in southeast Anatolia, Turkey. It was soon to be submerged by the waters of the Euphrates, because a new dam was being built downstream. The New York Times appeal was taken to heart by David Packard of the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) of California, who immediately organized an action plan based on a “targeted” archaeological investigation and on conservation in situ.
Under extreme climatic conditions, the conservators worked on site for six months before the Euphrates waters, reaching their maximum level, defined the new panorama of Zeugma, which is now a national archaeological park. A three and half year program in laboratory completed the project. 4000 finds and 160 m2 of surfaces were removed from the site, 8700 m2 of archeological structures were reburied using 10,500 m3 of sand, pebbles and stones. The program also included the restoration of almost 850 m2 of figurate polychrome mosaics which represent today one of the most extraordinary mosaics collections on display.
Roberto Nardi received a first degree in archaeology from the University of Rome and than one in conservation of archaeological materials at the Central Restoration Institute, Rome. In 1982 he founded the Centro di Conservazione Archeologica (CCA), a private company carrying out public commissions in the field of conservation of ancient monuments and archaeological sites. CCA is based in a convent located north of Rome where training course are held. He has directed more than 50 projects or training courses in 14 countries, including the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Vespasian in the Roman Forum, the mosaic at Saint Catherine’s in the Sinai and the wall paintings at the Madrasa Amiriya in Yemen that in 2007 received the Aga Kahn Award for Islamic Architecture. He has published 80 technical articles. Roberto Nardi is president of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics and Kress Lecturer at the American Institute of Archaeology for 2010/2011.