Roman Ships Museum

The past that emerges

Date : 2016 May 26th
n 1998, just outside the ancient circle of the walls of Pisa, towards the sea, the railways began excavation work alongside the Pisa San Rossore station. Wooden objects immediately emerged, of which archaeologists understood their exceptional importance. MIBACT, in agreement with the Italian Railway Network, immediately began an archaeological investigation in the area. At about three meters deep an impressive series of shipwrecks emerged. In 1999 RFI decided, necessarily, to move the building elsewhere. he then opened a large excavation site, completed in 2016, which has returned about thirty Roman boats and miles of ceramic fragments, glass, metals, elements in organic material. The laborious work of archaeologists and restorers has recomposed the mosaic of a long history, made up of trade and sailors, navigation and routes, daily life on board and shipwrecks. The exceptional state of conservation of the finds affected the excavation activity, to prevent the wooden parts from being excessively exposed to atmospheric agents and at the same time guaranteeing complete scientific documentation. The wood, preserved underwater in the absence of oxygen, manages to maintain its anatomical structure: the lack of oxygen prevents fungi and bacteria from proliferating and affecting cellulose and lignin, fundamental components of cellular tissue. A preliminary protection system for the finds with fiberglass panels was designed on site. During the excavation, the wrecks were freed from the ground according to the method of the archaeological excavation, and from the fiberglass panels, proceeding for small bands of 50 centimeters / 1 meter, detected three-dimensionally, and then again protected with a fabric capable of retaining humidity. To ensure the necessary humidity, a misting system was fixed on the finds, designed specifically for each boat. A new fiberglass shell was superimposed on this to preserve the boat during lifting, transport and planting. The vessel, thus encapsulated, was fixed to a metal frame and then raised and moved to the laboratory for restoration.

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