Physical Characterization, Microstructural Evaluation, and Condition Assessment of Ancient Ahlat Tombstones in the Seljukian Cemetery of Ahlat (Turkey)
Isik, Mehmet Cengiz
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A typical Seljukian town of Ahlat, located between the north-western shores of the Lake Van and the Nemrud and Suphan volcanoes of the Eastern Turkey is hosting rich and colorful cultural heritage sites. Among these, famous Seljukian Cemetery is a major archeological district with monumental tombstones (stelae). Excessive deterioration, erosion and lichen colonization can be observed in these cultural artifacts. The main objective of this study is the investigation of stones' physical characterization and evaluation of the microstructural features. A degradation model was outlined starting with the capillary water uptake from the bottom section and lichen colonization starting from the top and covering these tombstones upto their mid sections. This article provides some information about the historical town of Ahlat and its tombstones. Some physical and microstructural characterization of the gravestones and the results of chemical and physical analysis are also presented along with some recommendations.