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Nabatean mortars - technology and application

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Restoring Nabatean monuments to their former glory

Special mortar mixtures have been developed to facilitate the restoration of monuments built by the Nabateans nearly two millennia ago.

Industrial Technologies

Europe and the Middle East are home to a number of ancient structures that constitute an important part of the cultural heritage of all humanity. Unfortunately, natural disasters, wars and simply the passage of time have all taken their toll on these monuments. Restoring a building to its original appearance and structural integrity while maintaining its aesthetics often proves to be a difficult challenge. In the context of the NAMO project, European and Middle Eastern experts came together to develop restoration techniques for Nabatean mortars. One of the project participants, the Institute for Restoration and Conservation Techniques in the Czech Republic, investigated repair mortars, sacrificial plasters and grouting mortars. Experiments in the laboratory and field were followed by tests on actual Nabatean monuments located in the ancient cities of Petra and Bosra, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The modified mortar mixtures exhibited improved characteristics. For example, aggregate particle size was successfully manipulated to reduce crack formation. The mortar formulas and experience gained during NAMO will be of considerable value to museums, public institutes and engineers engaged in restoration projects.

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