Monday, November 16, 2009

Discovery of another treasure

After a very successful two weeks of stabilization of Tevet, we moved on to Adar, our great fish. Adar has extensive water damage on the visual right side of the image. Similar to Tevet, the central image was covered with contact film to impede loss of the unstable paint. The contact film was successfully removed and any paint left on the film will be consolidated and reattached to the wall at a later date. 

During paint stabilization, an important discovery was made. Hebrew letters from an earlier decoration scheme were found. These words are located above the mazel and can be seen  quite clearly in raking light. This placement of the mazel title is quite different from what we see today, wherein the words are placed below the central image. With a bit of research (thanks Elissa) it was found that one of the words says 'Dagim' meaning fish in the plural . SO COOL!  

Discoveries like these contribute to the understanding of the history and use of historic sites, making their preservation even that much more important. And for us as conservators, it is yet another inspiration to continue our work to save the world's cultural heritage. 

Who knows what undiscovered treasures are yet to be found!

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to add that the reason the Hebrew letter can be seen in raking light (or light coming from one side of the painting, rather than direct light) is that the presence of the underpaint, that is those letters, creates a different surface texture than the surrounding area. So it is not that pigments used to create the earlier painted letters is visible through the top paint layer, but rather raking light impinging on the surface of the wall is reflected in a different way than the surrounding wall-- allowing us to "see" the underlayer. And as Roos notes, it is really exciting!!