Room 41: works update 11 january 2013

After the holiday break, work has resumed inside the Domus Aurea and particularly in Room 41, which as we have said is a representative example of the problems that we face inside the rooms. In agreement with the Works Management, we have carried out preliminary first aid to secure and conserve the painted plaster of the vault, in danger of collapse.

Overview, Room 41 – SSBAR Archive

Overview, Room 41 – SSBAR Archive

The room presents numerous cracks and serious detachments of the preparatory layers affecting 70% of the surfaces starting from the impost of the vault.

Much of the painted surface of the vault, and of the walls, is affected by efflorescences, subflorescences and concretions of varying thickness and consistency.

The north-west area presents significant deformation of the plasterwork with extensive cracks running through it.

Detail of north-west side – SSBAR Archive

Detail of north-west side – SSBAR Archive

The east side is now lacking most of the plaster on the vault; a limited portion is preserved but in danger of collapse.

Particolare lato est: con il nucleo cementizio a vista e la velinatura applicata sulla superficie pittorica - Archivio SSBAR

Detail of east side: the concrete core is visible with the protective coating applied to the painted surface – SSBAR Archive

Protective coatings have been applied with a temporary adhesive (Cyclododecane Spray in direct contact with the paint layer) and an acrylic adhesive in solution (Paraloid B72 15%) with cotton wool. These protective coatings should be considered temporary and will be removed (or if necessary replaced) as soon as possible since the climatic conditions of the room may in time increase the biological deterioration of the surfaces.

Considering the specific thermohygrometric conditions of the room, with a high degree of humidity, the detachments of plaster have been propped using inert materials such as Plexiglas and steel.

Particolare dei puntelli messi in opera - Archivio SSBAR

Detail of the props used – SSBAR Archive

This first aid operation should be considered a preliminary phase of actual consolidation of the wall structure and securing of the plasterwork, the stucco elements in relief and the paint layer.

The intervention was carried out by ATI DOMUS AUREA to secure the decorated surfaces and by LANDE s.r.l. for structures. The Works Manager was the architect M.M. Scoccianti, assisted by the archaeologist I. Sciortino, and the conservator M. Bartoli, from the Soprintendenza’s internal staff.

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