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by Archaeology Newsroom

Hermes of Ancient Messene: Application of Laser Technology for the Removal of Sediments from White Marble

A rare marble statue of Hermes was revealed in ancient Messene in 1996, which, although it was found in fragmentary condition, is almost fully preserved. The statue is made of white dolomitic marble, however, when it was found, its surface was almost completely covered by dark-colored sediments. The cleaning of the work was necessary for its aesthetic elevation, so that it could be presented to the public fully restored and recognizable. All the satisfactory methods for handling similar problems were examined before the cleaning of the statue, and the laser method was selected on the basis of its positive properties: although it fully removes the sediments, it leaves intact a thin layer of patina on the thus perfectly restored marble surface. The application of the laser method also revealed important details of the work and the various qualities of its surface, elevated the virtues of the material and soothed the strong color contrasts, The application of laser technology proved to be the only one that combined the capability of the complete control of the device during the cleaning procedure with the respect to all those elements, which compose the authentic “skin” of the statue.