Friday, November 25, 2005
Rain + ancient foundations = quicksand for the Parthenon?
OK all you Nashvillians, don't panic, I am not talking about the Nashville Parthenon. Centennial Park ain't sinking, and your gold-plated Athena is still standing tall.
What I am talking about is the real Parthenon, you know, the ancient one. It seems an archaelogical professor in Athens has claimed that rainfall has weakened the foundations of the entire Acropolis, and has caused some "peripheral distortion" (no, I don't know what that means) to the foundations of the Parthenon.
The Culture Ministry has come back with a statement saying that there is no danger to the Acropolis monuments and that temporary panelling of the flooring of the Parthenon has kept the foundation fully sealed for the past 23 years.
At the same time, samples were taken from various depths and places in the flooring and laboratory tests were conducted, in order to inspect the sinter stones that make up the foundations of the monument. The surveys revealed that the infrastructure of the Parthenon is solid and the underlying limestone is quite resilient to disintegration.
"As soon as the restoration works at the Parthenon are concluded, the temporary panels will be removed and any gaps in the flooring will be filled with new marble slabs, while a new inspection will take place to implement added protective measures if needed," was also noted in the announcement.
See, nothing to worry about. But I seriously hope this isn't just a case of the typical Greek "aww, it will be ok, we are taking care of it" attitude only to find in several years that the ancient monuments are indeed sinking into the earth. Only time will tell, I suppose.