Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Oh those clever Ancient Greek...

I’ve just read a highly enlightening book called “The Parthenon” by Mary Beard (yes, she who advocates the dispersal of antiquities around the world) and found something very interesting on page 123.

“At some point after the building was finished … a shallow pool of water was installed in front of the statue. Referring back to this feature at another point on his travels, Pausanias explains that the idea was to increase the humidity and so prevent the ivory drying out.”

Copyright image: Social Travellers Site - I don’t know how accurate this image is and whether the pool was actually this large, but it still looks rather impressive, right?

So… Does this mean the Ancient Greek ‘invented’ preventive conservation? Has anyone read anything about earlier examples of people trying to conserve material culture in such a manner?


  1. Gosh! Really? that's very interesting. I have a question, is that photo from the Parthenon replica in the USA?

  2. No, unfortunately this is just a digital reconstruction. The roof of the Nashville Parthenon is different and it doesn't have a pool of water either...


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