Mosaics
that are believed to be remnants of Roman and Byzantine time periods are being discovered
in the Mediterranean area. These mosaics, however, are not being discovered by trained
Archaeologists but rather are uncovered by construction projects. The mosaics
that are not believed to be of high quality, rarity, or figurative importance
are removed from the excavation sites and the sites themselves are destroyed. In
contempt of national laws and international guidelines for preserving
archaeological sites, the practice of removing mosaics occurs in some Mediterranean
countries due to modern developmental influences and a lack of authoritative antiquity
resources.

            The
removal of mosaics from these excavation sites contradicts the in-situ conservation theory which is a
method in which the mosaics would not be disturbed. Once the mosaics are
removed from their original location, they wait to be “backed” which reinforces
the mosaic on a new surface. But the removal of mosaics, and the rapid expansion
of modern developments, are leaving many mosaics unbacked and stockpiles of
mosaics will soon deteriorate if they remain unkept and in storage. However,
growing concern for detached mosaics that have been re-laid on reinforced
concrete panels have begun to surface. Over time, reinforced concrete panels
begin to expand due to the corroding of rebar, especially if the mosaic was placed
back in-situ and exposed to the
elements.

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            Short-term
solutions, such as replacing the corroded rebar, exist but long-term solutions
would be more beneficial to the preservation of these mosaics. Preventing the
mosaics from being exposed to poor weather conditions, or simply replacing the
backings of the mosaics with a material more compatible with the mosaics are both
possible solutions. But due to the scarcity of resources and trained personnel,
as well as the surplus of detached mosaics, officials are unequipped to handle
the crisis.

            The
rapid expansion of modern developments, along with an inability to properly
excavate and preserve sites by national authorities, aggregated the crises of the
loss of mosaics. Authorities in the Mediterranean region should not only have
national laws and regulations that dictate how to proceed with discovering a
site, but as well have a way to enforce them. Private construction companies should
also be held accountable for any damages to a site and should provide personnel
to oversee the excavation and preservation of these sites. Government officials
are currently unwilling to provide human and financial resources to amend the
damages, but perhaps they can be persuaded to see the historical and cultural importance
and a possible tourism attraction.

            While
not all mosaics are found in perfect condition and some sites are uncovered
then left exposed, this does not mean that these sites should be destroyed.
Instead, finding different ways to preserve mosaics is critical. According to Thomas
Roby “A recent assessment of mosaic reburials in Tunisia has shown that just a
few centimeters of sand placed over a mosaic can prevent significant
deterioration of a mosaic” (Roby).