Mosaics of the Nativity Church

Original name

Mosaics of the Nativity Church

Geographic Area

Bethlehem, Palestine

Reference Project

Digital Survey for the construction of descriptive apparatus of Constantinian mosaics

Site description

The first Nativity building, dating back to the time of Constantine, had a floor decorated with a mosaic carpet that in later centuries was covered, raising the floor of the Basilica. The decorative apparatus was discovered in 1934 by the Englishman William Harvey, during an excavation campaign conducted following the restoration of the complex. It was then covered after its decorative perimeter was accurately documented with photographs and drawings.

In recent years, during the restorations conducted on the roofs and on the wall facings the mosaics were again excavated to assess the overall integrity and the state of conservation of the tiles, thus initiating a restoration process aimed at defining a solution that would allow the visitors to appreciate the original drawing of the Basilica. On the sides of the central nave there are two large trapdoors through which it is possible to observe the fragments of the mosaic and appreciate the general layout, that measured about 16.36 x 6.80 m. The overall design had to present two distinct carpets: the first, to the west, of 6.50 x 6.80 m, with a series of intertwined medallions, acanthus leaves and plant motifs on a black background; the second, of 9.86 x 6.80 m, comprised six square panels adorned with geometric motifs and a wide range of colors.

Credits

Promoted by
Piacenti S.p.a

Coordinator
Sandro Parrinello

Partnership
UNIPV, University of Pavia

Survey Activities

Laser Scanner
Raffaella De Marco

Terrestrial Photogrammetry
Francesca Picchio, Elisabetta Doria

Direct Survey
Francesca Picchio, Elisabetta Doria

Post production Activities

2D Drawings
Silvia La Placa, Elisabetta Doria, Francesca Picchio, Pietro Becherini

3D Model
Silvia La Placa

  • Gallery
  • Point Cloud - Mosaic A

Documentation Methodology

The documentation of mosaic works generally involves the use of digitization technologies combined with non-invasive diagnostic analysis. This integration had required drawings and graphic representations to define the areas subject to different pathologies with relative precision, to combine the metric information with other qualitative data useful for the definition of some aspects, such as color necessary to represent the decoration and the ornament in the mosaic layout. The documentation of mosaic works generally involves the use of digitization technologies combined with non-invasive diagnostic analysis. This integration had required drawings and graphic representations to define the areas subject to different pathologies with relative precision, to combine the metric information with other qualitative data useful for the definition of some aspects, such as color necessary to represent the decoration and the ornament in the mosaic layout.

The 3D drawing representation aims to highlight the cognitive data obtained from the mosaic documentation. Through this visualization it is possible to obtain immediate reading of the information content of the model itself. The researcher is thus facilitated in the understanding of the analyzed work, just as the restorer is facilitated in perceiving the information related to geometry and forms. Plants and general sections of the mosaic have allowed to return the information concerning the excavation (content, depth, width, length, deformations, etc.) and these graphic drawings, imported on the Rhinoceros modeling software, have constituted the prerequisite for the development of a reliable prerequisite for the development of a reliable model system.

Bibliography

Doria, E. , Picchio, F. (2020). Techniques for mosaics documentation through photogrammetry data acquisition. The byzantine mosaics of the Nativity Church. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. V-2-2020, 965-972. Research Gate

La Placa, S., Doria, E., Parrinello, S. (2020). The documentation of mosaics through the color analysis: the case study of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In Marchiafava V., Picollo M., (Eds). Colour and Colorimetry. Multidisciplinary Contributions. XVI-B, 35-42. Research Gate

La Placa, S., Doria, E., Parrinello, S. (2019). Vectorialization practices of the images drawing of the floor mosaics of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In Valzano V., Cigola M. (Eds). Scientific Research and Information Technology. Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologie dell'Informazione 9(2), 95-104. Research Gate