Mosaicsthat are believed to be remnants of Roman and Byzantine time periods are being discoveredin the Mediterranean area. These mosaics, however, are not being discovered by trainedArchaeologists but rather are uncovered by construction projects. The mosaicsthat are not believed to be of high quality, rarity, or figurative importanceare removed from the excavation sites and the sites themselves are destroyed. Incontempt of national laws and international guidelines for preservingarchaeological sites, the practice of removing mosaics occurs in some Mediterraneancountries due to modern developmental influences and a lack of authoritative antiquityresources. Theremoval of mosaics from these excavation sites contradicts the in-situ conservation theory which is amethod in which the mosaics would not be disturbed. Once the mosaics areremoved from their original location, they wait to be “backed” which reinforcesthe mosaic on a new surface. But the removal of mosaics, and the rapid expansionof modern developments, are leaving many mosaics unbacked and stockpiles ofmosaics will soon deteriorate if they remain unkept and in storage. However,growing concern for detached mosaics that have been re-laid on reinforcedconcrete panels have begun to surface.
Over time, reinforced concrete panelsbegin to expand due to the corroding of rebar, especially if the mosaic was placedback in-situ and exposed to theelements. Short-termsolutions, such as replacing the corroded rebar, exist but long-term solutionswould be more beneficial to the preservation of these mosaics. Preventing themosaics from being exposed to poor weather conditions, or simply replacing thebackings of the mosaics with a material more compatible with the mosaics are bothpossible solutions.
But due to the scarcity of resources and trained personnel,as well as the surplus of detached mosaics, officials are unequipped to handlethe crisis. Therapid expansion of modern developments, along with an inability to properlyexcavate and preserve sites by national authorities, aggregated the crises of theloss of mosaics. Authorities in the Mediterranean region should not only havenational laws and regulations that dictate how to proceed with discovering asite, but as well have a way to enforce them. Private construction companies shouldalso be held accountable for any damages to a site and should provide personnelto oversee the excavation and preservation of these sites. Government officialsare currently unwilling to provide human and financial resources to amend thedamages, but perhaps they can be persuaded to see the historical and cultural importanceand a possible tourism attraction. Whilenot all mosaics are found in perfect condition and some sites are uncoveredthen left exposed, this does not mean that these sites should be destroyed.Instead, finding different ways to preserve mosaics is critical.
According to ThomasRoby “A recent assessment of mosaic reburials in Tunisia has shown that just afew centimeters of sand placed over a mosaic can prevent significantdeterioration of a mosaic” (Roby).