THE PROJECT

The Marmi Sommersi (Submerged Marbles) website is a scientific portal about archaeological research into stone artefacts discovered underwater. It has been designed for scientists as well as the general public. In particular, it addresses bioerosion, a specific type of biological damage that affects artefacts that have been underwater for centuries, in seas, oceans, lakes and rivers. Bioerosion changes the visual appearance of a stone artefact. In some cases the damage is severe enough to make the original form unrecognisable. The research work has been undertaken by ISCR’s Underwater Archaeology Unit (Nucleo per gli Interventi di Archeologia Subacquea) and Marine Biology Unit (Sezione di Biologia Marina). To date, the work has examined the artefacts housed in the Campi Flegrei Museum of Archaeology (Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei) in Baia, near Naples, those discovered in Capri’s Blue Grotto and those preserved in situ in the Marine Protected Area – Underwater Park of Baiae near Naples and in the waters off San Pietro in Bevagna near Taranto. Laboratory analysis has enabled the causes of the bioerosion to be studied at both epilithic and endolithic levels. The animal and vegetable organisms and microorganisms responsible for the damage have been identified. Visitors to the Marmi Sommersi website will be able to find where and how each artefact was discovered, its condition and the nature of the organisms that colonised it over the centuries. Details are also provided of any conservation measures that have been applied, where relevant. Marmi Sommersi is an ongoing project and the artefacts database is being updated continuously with new items from the underwater world. ISCR wishes to express its gratitude to the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici of Naples/Caserta and of Puglia for hosting ISCR’s experts and facilitating their research.

  • Scientific coordination: Barbara Davidde, Sandra Ricci
  • Editing: Federica Antonelli, Laura Mazzoni, Carlotta Sacco Perasso, Kalliopi Schistocheili
  • Photo credits: photos of the home page are by Mimmo Jodice; the images of the artefacts recovered from the Blue Grotto and those displayed in the Archaeological Museum of the Campi Flegrei (Baia) were made by Roberto Petriaggi for the ISCR; the images of the submerged sites of Baiae and San Pietro in Bevagna were made by Roberto Petriaggi, Barbara Davidde, Marco Ciabattoni and Gian Franco Priori for the ISCR.

  • © Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro. All rights reserved ISCR
  • Archive photo ISCR

ABOUT US

BARBARA DAVIDDE

Barbara Davidde, archaeologist, is currently Director of the Underwater Archaeology Unit and Director of the Department of Archaeology (NIAS - Nucleo per gli Interventi di Archaeologia Subacquea) at the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro -Superior Institute for Conservation and Restoration (ISCR ) – Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

Since 2010 she is lecturer at the Roma Tre University where she teaches “Underwater archaeology”.

Her research focuses on the study, conservation and restoration of the underwater cultural heritage, with particular attention to waterlogged archaeological artefacts and the ancient Roman coastal settlements and infrastructures.

She started her career in 1987 and over the years she led several underwater archaeological missions in Yemen and Oman, and partnered in underwater archaeological surveys in Italia, France and Libya.

From 1992 to 1996 she was underwater archaeologist for the Italian Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, Servizio Tecnico per l’Archeologia Subacquea - Technical Unit for Underwater Archaeology. Took part to about 50 underwater surveys all around the Italian coasts for identification of underwater archaeological sites and rescue of archaeological items.

Since 1997 she has been employed at the ISCR and during this time her research has focused on the preservation and restoration of ancient artifacts recovered underwater.

Since 2001 she conducted her research activities on the in situ restoration of underwater cultural heritage as a researcher (2001-2010) and later on as coordinator (from 2011 until now) in the project “Restoring Underwater " focused on experimenting with tools, instruments, materials and methodologies for the in situ conservation and restoration of submerged archaeological sites. (Marine Protected Area- Underwater park of Baiae, wreck with marble sarcofagi off San Pietro in Bevagna, wreck with iron cannons off Cala Spalmatore - Isola di Marettimo, wreck of fishing boat af Marta Island- Bolsena Lake).

From 2011 to now, in the field of the Project “Restaurare sott’acqua” at Baiae, she is the director of the restoration of: - the room with opus sectile floor (Bath of Punta dell’Epitaffio -2011), - the mosaic floors of the Villa con ingresso a protiro (2012) - first aid intervention and restoration of mosaic floor and archaeological structures of a Republican building/villa (Portus Iulius 2015).

From July 2011, she is the ISCR coordinator of the project "Comas " Conservation in situ of Underwater archaeological Artifacts, team leader -University of Calabria, Faculty of Earth Sciences (http://www.comasproject.eu ), and ISCR coordinator of the European project SASMAP Development of Tools and Techniques to Survey, Assess, Stabilise , Monitor and Underwater Preserve Archaeological Sites , team leader the National Museum of Denmark ( http://sasmap.eu/).

From 2010 to 2013, she was member of the planning group for the restoration of the Domus of the Mithraeum of the Painted Walls (Ancient Ostia).

Since 2011 she is coordinator of the restoration works of the roman Villa of Silin (region of Leptis Magna, Libya) within the framework of the International Contract between ISCR, Department of Archaeology of Libya ( DoA ) and Roma Tre University.

Since 2011 she is the coordinator of training courses for technicians and restorers of the Department of Archaeology of Libya, conducted by ISCR in the roman Villa of Silin; she was the ISCR coordinator of the training program “Conservation of movable property (onsite / in museum / storage collection)” carried out in Libya by ISCR together with UNESCO in 2013.

In 2014-2015 she directed the recovery and first –aid intervention on the wrecks E,F,G discovered in the ancient harbor of Naples, during the excavation of the underground in Piazza Municipio.

From 2016 she is the Director of the Restoration Project of the wrecks A,B.C, E,F,G, H discovered in the ancient harbor of Naples, funded by MIBACT.

Author of several scientific papers, she published with Roberto Petriaggi the volume " Archeologia sott’acqua. Teoria e pratica", Roma -Pisa 2007, Fabrizio Serra Editor. Second edition updated, Roma-Pisa, 2015.

Dott.ssa Barbara Davidde Email: barbara.davidde@beniculturali.it ">

Barbara Davidde, archaeologist, is currently Director of the Underwater Archaeology Unit and Director of the Department of Archaeology (NIAS - Nucleo per gli Interventi di Archaeologia Subacquea) at the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione e il Restauro -Superior Institute for Conservation and Restoration (ISCR ) – Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

Since 2010 she is lecturer at the Roma Tre University where she teaches “Underwater archaeology”.

Her research focuses on the study, conservation and restoration of the underwater cultural heritage, with particular attention to waterlogged archaeological artefacts and the ancient Roman coastal settlements and infrastructures.

She started her career in 1987 and over the years she led several underwater archaeological missions in Yemen and Oman, and partnered in underwater archaeological surveys in Italia, France and Libya.

From 1992 to 1996 she was underwater archaeologist for the Italian Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, Servizio Tecnico per l’Archeologia Subacquea - Technical Unit for Underwater Archaeology. Took part to about 50 underwater surveys all around the Italian coasts for identification of underwater archaeological sites and rescue of archaeological items.

Since 1997 she has been employed at the ISCR and during this time her research has focused on the preservation and restoration of ancient artifacts recovered underwater.

Since 2001 she conducted her research activities on the in situ restoration of underwater cultural heritage as a researcher (2001-2010) and later on as coordinator (from 2011 until now) in the project “Restoring Underwater " focused on experimenting with tools, instruments, materials and methodologies for the in situ conservation and restoration of submerged archaeological sites. (Marine Protected Area- Underwater park of Baiae, wreck with marble sarcofagi off San Pietro in Bevagna, wreck with iron cannons off Cala Spalmatore - Isola di Marettimo, wreck of fishing boat af Marta Island- Bolsena Lake).

From 2011 to now, in the field of the Project “Restaurare sott’acqua” at Baiae, she is the director of the restoration of: - the room with opus sectile floor (Bath of Punta dell’Epitaffio -2011), - the mosaic floors of the Villa con ingresso a protiro (2012) - first aid intervention and restoration of mosaic floor and archaeological structures of a Republican building/villa (Portus Iulius 2015).

From July 2011, she is the ISCR coordinator of the project "Comas " Conservation in situ of Underwater archaeological Artifacts, team leader -University of Calabria, Faculty of Earth Sciences (http://www.comasproject.eu ), and ISCR coordinator of the European project SASMAP Development of Tools and Techniques to Survey, Assess, Stabilise , Monitor and Underwater Preserve Archaeological Sites , team leader the National Museum of Denmark ( http://sasmap.eu/).

From 2010 to 2013, she was member of the planning group for the restoration of the Domus of the Mithraeum of the Painted Walls (Ancient Ostia).

Since 2011 she is coordinator of the restoration works of the roman Villa of Silin (region of Leptis Magna, Libya) within the framework of the International Contract between ISCR, Department of Archaeology of Libya ( DoA ) and Roma Tre University.

Since 2011 she is the coordinator of training courses for technicians and restorers of the Department of Archaeology of Libya, conducted by ISCR in the roman Villa of Silin; she was the ISCR coordinator of the training program “Conservation of movable property (onsite / in museum / storage collection)” carried out in Libya by ISCR together with UNESCO in 2013.

In 2014-2015 she directed the recovery and first –aid intervention on the wrecks E,F,G discovered in the ancient harbor of Naples, during the excavation of the underground in Piazza Municipio.

From 2016 she is the Director of the Restoration Project of the wrecks A,B.C, E,F,G, H discovered in the ancient harbor of Naples, funded by MIBACT.

Author of several scientific papers, she published with Roberto Petriaggi the volume " Archeologia sott’acqua. Teoria e pratica", Roma -Pisa 2007, Fabrizio Serra Editor. Second edition updated, Roma-Pisa, 2015.

Dott.ssa Barbara Davidde Email: barbara.davidde@beniculturali.it


SANDRA RICCI

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ISTITUTO SUPERIORE PER LA CONSERVAZIONE ED IL RESTAURO

The Istituto per la Conservazione ed il Restauro (ISCR) is technical institute of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. The institute was founded in 1939 through the endeavours of Giulio Carlo Argan and Cesare Brandi with the aim of establishing a scientific base for restoration and unifying the methodologies used for treating works of art and archaeological finds. Cesare Brandi became the first director of the institute.

The task of the institution are to:

- promote and carry out research, planning, experimentation and verification of cultural properties;

- sistematically study the effects thet environmental, natural and accidental factors have on the processes of deterioration and the means capable of limiting and preventing the damage caused by them;

- set out technical and methodological rules for the planning and execution of restoration works and asses and verify the compatibility of the methods, techniques and materials to be adopted;

- provide ministerial departments and regional/local athorities as well as public and private bodies with technical and scientific advice and assistance;

- train restorers at the School of Higher Education and organze refresher courses for technical and scientific staff in public administration and for professionals in the private sector who require it;

- plan and implement particularly complex restoration works or those carried out for research and didactic purposes.

Among the most significant restoration works in the recent past we can recall: the pictorial cycle of the Scrovegni chapel (Padua), the frescoes in the vaults of the Upper Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, the stone surfaces of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the fountain of the Four Rivers (Rome), the loggia of Amore and Psyche in the Villa della Farnesina (Rome), the underwater archaeological park of Baia, The Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo. The Bronze of Riace (Reggio Calabria), and the Annunciation of Nancy by Caravaggio. The institute is also angaged in activities of restoretion and consultancy in foreign Countries at their request: e.g. Algeria, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Malta, Peru, Serbia and Syria.

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The Istituto per la Conservazione ed il Restauro (ISCR) is technical institute of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. The institute was founded in 1939 through the endeavours of Giulio Carlo Argan and Cesare Brandi with the aim of establishing a scientific base for restoration and unifying the methodologies used for treating works of art and archaeological finds. Cesare Brandi became the first director of the institute.

The task of the institution are to:

- promote and carry out research, planning, experimentation and verification of cultural properties;

- sistematically study the effects thet environmental, natural and accidental factors have on the processes of deterioration and the means capable of limiting and preventing the damage caused by them;

- set out technical and methodological rules for the planning and execution of restoration works and asses and verify the compatibility of the methods, techniques and materials to be adopted;

- provide ministerial departments and regional/local athorities as well as public and private bodies with technical and scientific advice and assistance;

- train restorers at the School of Higher Education and organze refresher courses for technical and scientific staff in public administration and for professionals in the private sector who require it;

- plan and implement particularly complex restoration works or those carried out for research and didactic purposes.

Among the most significant restoration works in the recent past we can recall: the pictorial cycle of the Scrovegni chapel (Padua), the frescoes in the vaults of the Upper Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, the stone surfaces of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the fountain of the Four Rivers (Rome), the loggia of Amore and Psyche in the Villa della Farnesina (Rome), the underwater archaeological park of Baia, The Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo. The Bronze of Riace (Reggio Calabria), and the Annunciation of Nancy by Caravaggio. The institute is also angaged in activities of restoretion and consultancy in foreign Countries at their request: e.g. Algeria, Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Malta, Peru, Serbia and Syria.