Italian Journal of Geosciences - Vol. 128 (2009) f.1

Deterioration processes on archaeological sites of Chellah and Oudayas (world cultural heritage, Rabat, Morocco): restoration test and recommendations

Lahcen Asebriy(*), Taj-Eddine Cherkaoui(**), Iz-ddine El Amrani El Hassani(*), Roberto Franchi(***), Francesco Guerrera(****), Manuel Martín-Martín(*****), Claudia Guerrera Patamìa(******), Giuliana Raffaelli (****), Pedro Robles-Marín(*******), Julian Tejera De Leon(*) & Francisco J. Alcalá(********)
(****) Istituto di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Urbino «Carlo Bo», Campus Scientifico, Località Crocicchia -61029 Urbino (Italy) - tel (+39) 0722.304.224 -; (*****) Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y del Medio Ambiente, Universidad de Alicante, Campus San Vicente, San Vicente del Respeig - 03080 Alicante (Spain) - (******) Ministero Pubblica Istruzione, Roma (Italia) - (*******) Esfera Consultores de Construcción, Murcia (Spain) - (********) Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), General Segura, 1 -04001 Almería (Spain) -

Volume: 128 (2009) f.1
Pages: 157-171


The Kasbahs of Chellah and Oudayas (world cultural heritage) are the most important archaeological Roman and Islamic sites of the imperial city Rabat (Morocco). Submitted to natural hazards and environmental aggressions, these monuments have undergone marked degradation, visible on all sides. An interdisciplinary analysis involving different geological disciplines and environmental factors was performed to introduce an innovative restoration method intended to reduce their progressive degradation. Gravitational instability (e.g. Oudayas) and erosion (e.g. Chellah) from fluvial-littoral geomorphological processes, regional seismicity, and certain anthropic activities are the main degradation processes to be reduced by following the proposed recommendations. Our studies have evidenced that the ancient Phoenician building techniques, still applied for reconstruction and preservation, result in the rapid and recurring deterioration of the old walls. Materials used to construct the Oudayas and Chellah walls consist of the calcarenite (or «Salé stone» from quarries near Rabat), mainly with bad geomechanical properties used in outdoor building. Hydrated lime mixtures, and the hydrated lime:water ratio, of mortars also have bad quality. The urban water quality to be used for restoration may require the application of special cements and mortars for restoration. A most satisfactory restoration-test was performed (Chellah, July 2006), taking into account our new analytical data. This method may be applicable to restoring the old Almohade and Oudayas walls (more than 10.5 km in Rabat), in order to reduce the alteration and degradation processes which systematically strike the archaeological sites of Chellah and Oudayas.


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