Friday, April 06, 2012

Salt Damage on the Wall Reliefs of Dendera Temple, Egypt

Conservation Magazine  

With detailed photos.

By Hesham Abbas Kamally

The present study aims to identify and to characterize the main deterioration mechanisms that affect the wall reliefs of Dendera temple, Upper Egypt. The temple is famous for its beautiful wall reliefs, painted with religious scenes and inscriptions. Nowadays the reliefs show considerable damage, particularly due to salt weathering processes. In particular, the wall reliefs show salt crystallization at varying levels, in and between grains, and within the cement materials. The change in temperature and relative humidity in the studied area play an important role in the salts crystallization and hydration causing several deterioration features such as cracks, powdering, paint and plaster detachment, flaking, discoloration and iron oxides stains. Several samples were examined by polarizing microscopy (PLM), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analysis system (SEM-EDX). The results reveal that the damage in wall paintings are mainly attributed to the effect of different salts such as gypsum (CaSO4•2H2O), anhydrite (CaSO4), halite (NaCl), mirabilite (Na2SO4.10H2O) and sylvite (KCl). These results allowed the identification of the types of salts and deterioration features, information that may be used in the future for conservation purposes.

Hesham Abbas Kamally, "Salt Damage on the Wall Reliefs of Dendera Temple, Egypt", e-conservation magazine 23 (2012) pp. 57-70,

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