ISTANBUL — Austrian and Turkish experts are using new methods to restore mosaics dating back to the 4th Century from the great palace of Byzantine emperors in Istanbul.
Built by the first Byzantine Emperor Constantine, the palace commanded a magnificent view high above the southern entrance to the Bosporus and across the Sea of Marmara. What remains stands next to Istanbul's famous Sultanahmet, or Blue Mosque.
The mosaics were uncovered by British archeologists in 1933-38 and 1952-56 and remain on their original site.
"There has been no major preservation activity for these mosaics, so the humidity and an inadequate roof have caused the disintegration of the cement layer under them," said Erdem Yucel, director general of major archeological museums in Istanbul.
The new technique being used for the first time consists of removing each mosaic with chemicals and reconstructing it on a limestone bed which is then reinforced with artificial resin, Austrian officials say.