Stone heads of Mt Nemrut to be ‘technically botoxed’
Umut Erdem – ISTANBUL
The tiny cracks on the large stone heads at Mount Nemrut in the southeastern province of Adıyaman will be filled with special lime grout in a procedure similar to Botox operations, and the heads will be wrapped with a special fabric to protect the 2,000-year-old artifacts.
The joint project, conducted with the country’s culture and tourism ministry and Mideast Technical University (ODTÜ), aims to hold the stone heads standing in an upright posture for 2,000 more years, the local media has reported.
According to reports, the cracks on the stone heads will be filled with nanoparticle infused lime grout in a meticulous work, that can be likened to “Botox operations in humans.”
The tourism season in Mount Nemrut ends in November with the start of the precipitation and restarts in April.
Speaking to local media on the condition of anonymity, an official said, “The rain and snow sneaks inside the tiny cracks and causes the cracks to get bigger. This ‘Botox’ like work will prevent infiltration and protect the stone heads.”
According to another expert, the work will start by November with one artifact. “By the end of the precipitation, we will see if we have succeeded to protect the artifact from rain and snow. If we see that we have, then the work will be continued on other stone heads over five years.”
The stone heads will also be put on a base so that in any case of weather conditions or earthquake, the stone heads will not be affected.
One other precaution will be wrapping the stone heads with a special wetproof fabric.
“The fabric will be enduring to winds with a speeds up to 120-kilometers per hour or any other impacts by sharp objects,” an official stated.
Mount Nemrut is a 2,134-meter-high mountain notable for the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself.
With a diameter of 145 m, the 50 m high funerary mound of stone chips is surrounded on three sides by terraces to the east, west and north.
Giant heads, weighing in at 6 tons are a full 10 meters tall, built in the look-out over an incredible sunrise and sunset every day.
The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1987.