The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Poll

should we repair and rebuild ancient structures like the Colosseum ,pyramids ,Parthenon etc

We should leave them as they are
0 (0%)
leave them as they are but we should preserve what is left of them
2 (66.7%)
we should return them to their original splendor but preserve the original elements where possible
1 (33.3%)
if they fall down who cares
0 (0%)
Where possible build structures around them to protect them from the elements
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 2

Author Topic: repairing ancient structures  (Read 2127 times)

Offline ukmicky

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3011
    • View Profile
    • http://www.space-talk.com/
repairing ancient structures
« on: 01/07/2007 15:52:59 »
Imagine the great pyramids,the Parthenon the Colosseum  and many of the other ancient buildings repaired and returned to the splendor of their original condition. i think they should repair them returning them to their original condition whilst preserving the original structures  where possible . .

At the moment these buildings are open to the elements allowing them to erode with the weather, rebuilding and repairing them will preserve them for the future and prevent them from turning to dust. surely that would be better than losing them forever at some stage which will happen some time in the future.
 
« Last Edit: 01/07/2007 16:00:27 by ukmicky »


 

another_someone

  • Guest
repairing ancient structures
« Reply #1 on: 01/07/2007 16:52:44 »
There are two issues here.

Firstly, while preservation of the past is of itself a good thing, any future must inevitably mean some destruction of the past, and we have to be careful to balance our need to build a future with our desire to hold on to our past.

Secondly, what are we preserving the past for?  If the preservation of the past is for its glorification, and to simply take pride in our heritage; then reconstruction definitely has its benefits.  On the other hand, if the purpose of preserving the past is to learn from it, then any changes we make, even in the name of reconstruction, is actually to damage what is there, and to make it more difficult for future generations to truly learn what information these relics of the past have to say about our ancestors.
 

Offline ukmicky

  • Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3011
    • View Profile
    • http://www.space-talk.com/
repairing ancient structures
« Reply #2 on: 01/07/2007 18:58:06 »
Quote
Firstly, while preservation of the past is of itself a good thing, any future must inevitably mean some destruction of the past, and we have to be careful to balance our need to build a future with our desire to hold on to our past.
Quote
On the other hand, if the purpose of preserving the past is to learn from it, then any changes we make, even in the name of reconstruction, is actually to damage what is there.
Its only damage if it's not for the greater good.


The future is built on the foundations of the past and to lose that what we have now because some person feels it's better to keep something totally authentic is wrong in my opinion.   Sometimes you have to be ruthless and if that means to prevent them from turning to dust and being lost to future generations we need to take drastic steps then in my mind so be it.

If St Paul's, The houses of parliament or Buckingham palace was to start to fall apart we would do what was required to rebuild it. Paintings which are worse for wear are rejuvenated by using careful restoration techniques which includes new paint.   In London we have many old buildings which have been rebuilt preserving the old stonework, beams etc  and the elements which can't be saved and are beyond restoration are replaced with new parts which mimic the originals. Over time the new parts gain a history of their own.

What's the difference, they should do the same to the major historic buildings from the past like the Parthenon.

« Last Edit: 01/07/2007 19:01:21 by ukmicky »
 

another_someone

  • Guest
repairing ancient structures
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2007 01:25:42 »
Its only damage if it's not for the greater good.

The notion of the greater good is a concept ripe for abuse and to excuse all sorts of bad things under the excuse that a greater good is achieved.

Damage is damage - it may be excusable, or necessary, damage, but it is no less damage.

The future is built on the foundations of the past and to lose that what we have now because some person feels it's better to keep something totally authentic is wrong in my opinion.   Sometimes you have to be ruthless and if that means to prevent them from turning to dust and being lost to future generations we need to take drastic steps then in my mind so be it.

If St Paul's, The houses of parliament or Buckingham palace was to start to fall apart we would do what was required to rebuild it. Paintings which are worse for wear are rejuvenated by using careful restoration techniques which includes new paint.   In London we have many old buildings which have been rebuilt preserving the old stonework, beams etc  and the elements which can't be saved and are beyond restoration are replaced with new parts which mimic the originals. Over time the new parts gain a history of their own.

What's the difference, they should do the same to the major historic buildings from the past like the Parthenon.

As I said above, it really depends on why you are keeping something.

St. Paul's, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament, are all relatively modern buildings, and while they are clearly iconic, they actually do not have a great deal to teach us about the past, because the past in which they were built is already well documented.

On the other hand, if one looks at something like Stonehenge, we actually know very little about how they were built, or even who built them, or why they were built.  Much speculation, but little hard fact.

If the structure of the Houses of Parliament were under threat, and we were required to rebuild a substantial portion of the building in order to allow it to remain fit for purpose, then so long as we preserved its iconic value by retaining the same superficial appearance for the building, we would not really be losing very much because the information value of the Houses of Parliament is limited - we know who built it, how it was built, and why it was built - so not a lot of new information is likely to be gleaned from retaining the original materials.

On the other hand, if we were to try and rebuild Stonehenge, we could easily lose enormous amount of archaeological significant information that would deprive later generations from learning information from the stones that we simply are not able to learn from them today.

The Parthenon is somewhere between the Houses of Parliament and Stonehenge in that respect, in that we know who built in, and why it was built, but there is still more that we can learn about how it was built, and how it was used (and even abused).

One case regarding the Parthenon really demonstrates some of the dangers in trying to repair old building:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenon
Quote
Originally, various blocks were held together by elongated iron H pins that were completely coated in lead, which protected the iron from corrosion. Stabilizing pins added in the 19th century were not so coated and corroded. Since the corrosion product (rust) is expansive, the expansion caused further damage by cracking the marble. All new metalwork uses titanium, a strong, light, and corrosion resistant material.

So we have people who thought they knew how to repair the building, who did more damage; and now we are effecting repairs, but still with materials that were wholly alien to the original civilisation that constructed the original building.  In such circumstances, one has to suggest that the archaeological (as distinct from the sentimental or iconic) value of the building has been substantially compromised.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

repairing ancient structures
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2007 01:25:42 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums