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Faculty of Classics


Conservation in Action: The Bassae Frieze

Planned start date: Tuesday 8 December 2020
Planned end date: This project may run into January 2021

Please note: we will be closed for Christmas from 5pm on Friday 18 December 2020 and will reopen (lockdown permitting) at 11am on Tuesday 5 January 2021. We will also be closed on Friday 11 December for essential maintenance.


book your tickets now


Our casts of the Bassae frieze are in need of essential conservation work - it's a two-to-three week job, and we're going to be undertaking it right here, in our Cast Gallery. We'll be working with a team from Cliveden Conservation to remove the casts, strengthen them, and then rehang them with a new mounting system to prevent further damage.

It's going to be a tricky task: the Bassae casts are hung more than 3m high on the wall, and above our (very large) casts of the West Pediment from Olympia. But we'll be bringing you along with us. Book a ticket (lockdown permitting, of course) to see the conservation work for yourself or keep up to date online: we're going to be posting updates here and we've got a number of online events planned to keep you in the loop.


About the project

We are committed to ensuring our casts are preserved for future generations to enjoy and study – and as a result, we are regularly monitoring cracks in the plaster and corrosion in the metal, and embarking on a rolling programme of conservation work.

Plaster is a brittle and soft material, which is prone to damage, breaks and staining. Even touching can make it dirty. Internal metal skeletons and fixings are at risk of corrosion and metal fatigue. In this sense, our casts are more delicate than the originals.

Our casts of the Bassae frieze may not be at risk of touching (although look closely and you might see old handling marks) because they are mounted high up on the wall  but they pose their own challenges. We'll need to build a scaffold to access them, and we'll need to work carefully around the large and immobile casts of the West Pediment from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia beneath them. The new mounting system we'll be using will mean that their weight is carried by a shelf, rather than by mounts in the back of the plaster itself.


Upcoming Activities

Watch this space! We are planning a busy programme of online engagement, in addition to the opportunities to watch the work take place in the Cast Gallery.


Find out more




Tuesday, 8 December, 2020 - 11:00 to Friday, 18 December, 2020 - 14:00
Contact name: 
Susanne Turner
Contact phone: 
01223 330402
Event location: 
Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

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