A preliminary study prior to restoration

The uncovering of the mosaics starting in 1968 raised the question of how to conserve them. To supplement the provisional solution of infilling sand, protective structures were built over the first three mosaics to see the light (1971). This was not done for all the floors, and the unprotected mosaics displayed worrying signs of degradation, including large dissociation of the efflorescences, damage to certain materials used and the dissociation of the tesserae from the support to the point of loss of cohesion of the individual cubes.

At the initiative of Marc Lugand, the ArchéOfactory association attempted to remedy the situation, and to change the visiting conditions to better preserve the pavements (1986). Given the scope of the problem, both the means and solutions were found to be inadequate. The efforts provided an opportunity to raise the awareness of the public authorities and to fully discuss how the site and its mosaics might be preserved over the long term.

In 1988, thanks to financial support from the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Council and the Hérault Département Council, the regional National Monument office commissioned a study from Dominique Larpin, a senior Historic Monuments architect. He was tasked with a rescue intervention to remove the mosaics, an archaeological study of the residential living areas and a project to restore the mosaics and present them to the public.

Medias

Interactive document - Older view of the site

Older view of the site

The villa site in 1986, with the initial protective structures, and an attempt at stabilising the vestiges of the residential section.
© ArchéOfactory
Interactive document - A stage in the removal of the mosaics

A stage in the removal of the mosaics

The major priority of the programme involved removal of the mosaics. Here, one of the pavements is consolidated.
© ArchéOfactory