The Paphos mosaics have been included in an ambitious $100-million, decade-long global initiative announced by the J. Paul Getty Trust to preserve antiquities across the world from threats such as sectarian violence and climate change.
Working in partnership with the Department of Antiquities in Cyprus, the Getty Conservation Institute will devise a strategy for preserving the mosaics through a possible combination of archaeological shelters and reburial to avoid damage from the sun, sea and air.
“If you leave them exposed without a shelter you need continued maintenance,” Jeanne Marie Teutonico, the associate director of programs of the Getty Conservation Institute told the New York Times.
“We’re seeing more thunderstorms, heavier rain, warmer temperatures. All of that accelerates deterioration.”
James Cuno, president of the Getty Trust, said the threats to the ancient world were “not just from militants and attacks, but from climate change, overdevelopment, mass tourism”.
At Paphos the initiative will seek to protect ancient mosaic pavements from the pressures of tourism and the heavier rainstorms recorded there in recent years.
“Working in partnership with the Department of Antiquities in Cyprus, the GCI will develop a conservation master plan to guide the preservation of one of the richest sites of mosaic pavement in the Mediterranean, with significant remains from the Hellenistic, Roman, early Christian and Byzantine periods, as well as Frankish and Ottoman monuments,” the Getty
“In an age of resurgent populism, sectarian violence, and climate change, the future of the world’s common heritage is at risk,” said Cuno