Ancient mosaics restored in Montenegro

A collection of ancient mosaics discovered in Risan, Montenegro, were restored by Polish scientists over the course of last few months.

Mosaics being restored (by Anna Pszonka)

The mosaics were uncovered in the so-called House of Hypnos, a monumental and rich household discovered in Risan in the 1930s. Initially it was believed that the artwork was created around 3rd-4rth century AD, but when Polish archaeologists uncovered three more mosaics at the site, they were able to precisely date them to half of the 2nd century AD. According to Piotr Dyczek, director of excavations, these mosaics are unique, since no other site in the area contained such a large number of them.

Mosaic before conservation (by Anna Pszonka)

For many years the mosaics were stored in the building of the local museum, awaiting conservation. They have been moved in rolls of cloth to which they were glued to. Now they were rolled out and split into parts. The conservation of the mosaics lasted since October last year, and was conducted by Adam Maciejewski and Anna Pszonka, graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The team cleaned the surface of the tesserae and secured it with microcrystalic wax. The work was scheduled to be finished by march this year. The mosaics will be moved to their original place, to the villa, where they will be impregnated and left to dry.

Mosaic from the House of Hypnos before restoration (by Janusz Recław)

Most of the mosaics are monochromatic, but their details are very rich. One of them depicts the Greek deity of sleep, Hypnos, from whom the villa took its name. The rest contains geometric and floral patterns. Some of them contain plants stylised as animals and animals as plants. The stone used for construction was identified as local limestone. The archaeologist managed to establish that the villa was not a private-owned building but served as a sort of a luxurious hotel. The mosaics were originally placed on the floors of exclusive dining rooms. The walls were covered with paintings, containing yellow stars and floral motifs. Guest rooms were located on the upper floor of the building.

Researchers’ workshop (by Anna Pszonka)

(after Anna Pszonka, Janusz Recław & Nauka w Polsce)

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