1st Conference: Rome – Italy, 1977

Deterioration and Conservation

1st Conference: Rome – Italy, 1977

1st Conference: Rome, Italy, 1977

The first ever meeting on mosaics conservation took place in Rome in 1977. It was organized by ICCROM at the instigation of a number of scholars, Claude Bassier in particular. Nine specialists were appointed to examine a series of mosaic-related topics, ranging from ethics to techniques and from methods of lifting to methods of in situ conservation. They prepared a paper that was then put forward for discussion by the around 60 participants, after which it was agreed that the meeting would mark the beginning of a new chapter in mosaic conservation.

Thus, a group of eleven individuals decided to form the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics and volunteered to act as its first Board. This aimed to be international and did not include just conservators, but also archaeologists and art historians. It consisted of Paolo Mora (Italy), who was nominated chairman, Irina Andreescu (Dumbarton Oaks, Washington), Claude Bassier (France), Mongi Ennaifer (Tunisia), Lawrence Majewski (New York University), William Novis (Great Britain), Maria Luisa Veloccia and Alberto Villa (Italy), and Rolf Wihr (Germany). Henri Lavagne was also appointed as representative of AIEMA, and the then Director of ICCROM, Bernard Fielden, was also appointed ex officio Member of the Board. ICCROM agreed to serve as the Committee’s first Secretariat, and it was decided that ICOM, ICOMOS and IIC should be observers. It was also agreed that the Committee would seek co-operation with various international organizations, in an attempt to share information and co-ordinate projects.
The five goals set at the end of the founding conference of the ICCM also included a recommendation (no. 4):

  1. The publication, in French and English, of the proceedings of the symposium, a goal that was achieved the following year with the appearance of Mosaics No.1: Deterioration and Conservation (ICCROM, Rome 1978).
  2. The collection of suggestions for a future course on the conservation of mosaics with a view to establishing a programme.
  3. The establishment of an annual directory of people working on the conservation of mosaics.
  4. The recommendation, when a mosaic is going to be detached, that a complete cross section of its bedding foundation be preserved.
  5. The encouragement of the documentation of specific cases of destruction, salvage, and restoration.


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