During the period between August and November, NI Stobi realized the final stage of the conservation-restoration work on the mosaic which decorated the floor of the nave of the Old Episcopal Basilica, the oldest Early Christian church in the R. of Macedonia.
The mosaic was removed from its original position 23 years ago, in 1991, and until this year it was not available to the scholar public and the visitors of Stobi. The project for the final conservation, restoration and presentation of the mosaic begun in 2012, when the strata below the floor of the basilica were excavated, and continued in 2013 when the removed mosaic fragments were applied on aluminum honey comb panels. During this year, all of the mosaic fragments, which together occupy area of 160 m2, were fully finished in details, after what they were prepared for the return in their original position in the basilica. For that purpose, and for the first time in the history of conservation and in situ presentation of mosaics, a unique steel construction was set as a carrier for the mosaic. The steel platform was built in order to prevent the destructive impact of the atmospheric and capillary water, as well as to preserve the architectural structures below the mosaic. Also, this is a solution that allows full reversibility of the conservation-restoration process.
After the fragments were placed in their original position, the final step in the conservation process included merging and retouch of the pieces in order to restore the authentic appearance of the mosaic. This last stage in 2014 concluded the project for conservation, restoration and presentation of the largest mosaic discovered in the Republic of Macedonia.
The budget of 1 200 000 MKD (20 000 EUR) for 2014, was supported by the Macedonian Ministry of Culture (400 000 MKD) and donations (800 000 MKD) as the result of the archaeological field school, organised in July by NI Stobi and Balkan Heritage Foundation. The project was directed by Dragan Vergovski Alpi from National Conservation Centre and Mishko Tutkovski as coordinator from NI Stobi.
The gallery from the conservation process is available here.
The conservation project for the mosaic of the Old Episcopal Basilica finalized, September 2013.