The Żejtun Roman Villa: Conservation issues

This paper deals with conservation issues in relation to the decorated (tiled) floors and the remains of plaster, some bearing traces of paint, on the walls of three or four adjoining rooms in this Roman Villa complex.

Multi-disciplinary studies in this respect are being carried out by the Department of the Built Heritage of the University of Malta. These studies have included the documentation and mapping of their current state of conservation of the decorated areas, drawn up with the help of conservation students and conservators from Heritage Malta. Documentation is always the first step in a conservation programme. Here it helped the team to understand the distribution of deterioration, assess the causes of deterioration, both natural and anthropological, of these areas, and draw up long-term measures to conserve the site. Environmental monitoring, which will continue even after a protective shelter has been built, is currently under way.  A research programme is now being carried out to choose the best herbicide to tackle the growth of vegetation on the site, and another programme will help choose appropriate grouting material and mortars to consolidate the loose plaster.  Following the completion of these measures, a maintenance plan will be put in place to ensure the continued conservation of the site.

Prof JoAnn Cassar    

Department of Built Heritage, University of Malta 

Is Head of the Department of the Built Heritage at the University of Malta and a member of the Board of Directors of Heritage Malta. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for the MA in Wall Paintings Conservation of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She sits on the Editorial Board of the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the Geological Society of London, as Associate (Overseas) Editor. She is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation (FIIC), Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS), Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem  FRSC). Prof. Cassar has over sixty scientific publications on conservation-related topics and has lectured widely abroad.

Roberta De Angelis

Department of Built Heritage, University of Malta 

Studied Conservation of Paintings and Stone at the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (Rome). She arrived in Malta in 1999 to help set up the Paintings Conservation Department of the Malta Centre for Restoration and to lecture in painting conservation.  Since then she specialised in the conservation of wall paintings and worked as a lecturer and professional conservator. She is currently reading for a PhD at the Conservation of Wall Painting Department (Courtauld Institute of Art, London) and is an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of the Built Heritage (University of Malta).  She is also a committee member of the Malta Association of Professional Conservators-Restorers (MAPCo-Re), and a member of IIC and ICOMOS.

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