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Conservation mortars for the protection of cultural heritage and natural environment

Emilija Nikolić


The Institute of Archaeology is a part of the national team currently working on the nomination dossier for the property named Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Danube Limes in Serbia with an aim to include it in the UNESCO World Heritage List. At the same time, it participates in the research project financed by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia named Mortar Design for Conservation – Danube Roman Frontier 2000 Years after (MoDeCo2000). The project deals with the characterisation of the historic mortars from the monuments of the Danube limes and raw materials used for their production, giving recommendations for the design of compatible conservation mortars. While this approach fully respects the principle of compatibility during the conservation treatments, it also helps avoid the use of cement – the material that stands in the foundations of modern development, but which manufacturing is one of the main producers of carbon dioxide. In this lecture, the methodology of the project researching historic mortars for conservation will be shown. It includes desk research of literature; field research with a sampling of original mortars and raw materials; laboratory research of mortars using different techniques; scientific interpretation of the results; design and laboratory testing of conservation mortars; and finally, in situ application of mortars with monitoring. One of the monuments being researched is monumental Trajan’s Bridge, dated to the beginning of the 2nd century AD, whose remains stand on the Serbian and Romanian sides of the river Danube, representing a challenge for research, conservation, and presentation.

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