Conservation in Action: Juno, Immobilization within the steel frame, December 2011

Relocation and conservation of a Roman sculpture of the goddess Juno, early second century A.D.:
December 2011, Immobilization within the steel frame

The sculpture is first wrapped with polyester batting and stretch wrap to cover undercuts as well as to protect the marble from damage.

High-density foam is inserted underneath both arms to provide a cushion against possible movement during transport.

Before the statue can be lifted off its base and laid onto a truck, it must be secured within a steel armature. This complex steel cradle, designed by structural engineers (see plans by Weidlinger Associates, Inc. below), consists of a tall U-shaped element that will provide support for the back and both sides of the figure.

The bottom edges of the sculpture are cut out on these three sides to allow the insertion of an angle iron (below), an important element of the lifting apparatus to be welded to the cradle after being dry fitted.

Wedges are inserted under the base after each cut to ensure that the figure remains stable.

After cutting, the placement of the angle iron, tack-welded for fitting only, is tested underneath the sculpture before being welded to the steel frame. The cradle (manufactured by Quincy Steel & Welding Co., Inc.) is then lifted into the enclosure by crane and slides under the figure from the back into the saw-cut grooves.

The final piece of the steel cradle, the front door, is also crane-lifted into the enclosure and attached to the cradle by mechanical means.

The below shows the connection of the door to the cradle at the lower corner.

Lastly, supports are cast between the sculpture and the steel frame to immobilize it during transport.

See next update.