Restoring a Roman ‘Burial Fresco’

Interesting item from the Triad (I think):

The Beirut National Museum has launched a six-month project to restore an ancient fresco of Roman burial rites that was first discovered near the southern city of Tyre in 1937.The fresco, discovered in a cave in the region of Burj Shmali by British excavators, was moved to the Beirut National Museum in the 1940’s to save it from degradation. Over the years it was kept in the basement of the museum along with other ancient tombs and artifacts.

The restoration, which will cost around $261,000 provided by the Italian embassy, will help conserve the fresco containing images of soldiers and warrior horses. Some of the images are believed to depict burial rituals of ancient Romans who ruled Tyre and much of the eastern Mediterranean then.

It’s the second time the fresco has undergone restoration. The first was in 1998 to help protect it against humidity.

‘This is a project of conservation of this fantastic wall paintings of Roman age. We are in the tomb of the 2nd century after Christ and the mythology describes the classic mythology connected with the ultra terrain and with the after life and the main myths of the after life. And the project here started actually a few years ago with the rescue of the whole basement of the museum and trying to reduce the amount of humidity that was in here,” said Georgio Capriotti, leader of the team of Lebanese and Italian restoration experts.

The Beirut National Museum contains about 1,300 artifacts from the prehistoric and ancient eras. It was closed in 1975 due to the civil war and reopened in 1999.

The basement of the museum is currently closed to visitors but is expected to reopen in November with the unveiling of the newly-restored fresco.

The original article is accompanied by a not-so-useful photo, but a  nice little embedded CBS video of the restoration work in progress …

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