PLASTER CHARACTERISTICS OF BYZANTINE WALL PAINTINGS IN WESTERN ANATOLIA
In this study, the execution technique and material characteristics of the plaster layers of Byzantine wall paintings from three archaeological sites (Anaia, Olympos and Aigai) from western Anatolia were examined for the purpose of their conservation. Throughout the study, mineralogical and chemical composition of the plaster layers were determined with a scanning electron microscope coupled with an X-ray energy dispersive system (SEM-EDS) and X-ray diffraction analyses (XRD). Reflected light microscopy (RLM) and SEM studies conducted on polished cross-sections of samples revealed the stratigraphy and microstructural properties of the plaster layers of the Anaia Church (4th–12th centuries), Başpınar Church (13th century) in Olympos and a Byzantine settling and the Chapel (13th century) in Aigai. Throughout the research, pure lime and aggregates in the plasters of Aigai, as well as magnesium-rich lime and straw in the plasters of Anaia and Başpınar were determined. The plasters from the Anaia and Başpınar Churches exhibit characteristics similar to the samples from the post-iconoclastic period due to a similar raw-material use. In the samples from Aigai, plastering techniques such as marmorino, intonachino and cocciopesto, indicating earlier periods, were observed. As a result of this study, it was concluded that the number and characteristics of the plaster layers from the paintings had been applied intentionally in accordance with the technique of the painting. Plaster characteristics of the wall paintings in western Anatolia from the Byzantine period were found to be similar to the ones in İstanbul, the Balkans, Crete and Cyprus. The results of this study will guide the conservation efforts of the wall paintings.
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