Research Conducted by Associate Professor, Ece Erdogmus

The Temple of Antioch Reconstruction Project

Impact echo test of marble blocks.
Impact echo non-destructive testing of marble blocks.

Since 2005, Dr. Ece Erdogmus has been the principal investigator for the restoration of a collapsed 3rd century Roman temple, located on the southern coast of Turkey. Under Dr. Erdogmus’ leadership, teams of architectural engineering students have traveled to Turkey to excavate and assess the temple blocks in support of the structure’s future reconstruction. The overall project is an interdisciplinary collaboration of art history, archeology, and engineering students with Drs. Michael Hoff (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Rhys Townsend (Clark University), Birol Can (Erzurum Ataturk University), and contributors from Wiss, Janney, and Elstner Associates.

This project involves in situ testing and the documentation of blocks in Turkey along with research in the labs at the Peter Kiewit Institute. Over 600 blocks have been excavated and documented. Further documentation of the structural health and usability of each block continues through the use of an assessment procedure developed by the team based on the International Council on Monuments and Sites assessment guide for stone monuments. A material analysis of the temple’s mortar has been conducted, determining its composition and compressive strength. Non-destructive testing includes the impact echo testing of temple blocks, ground penetrating radar, and the use of a fiberscope. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) and the fiberscope have been used to determine the temple’s substructure while comparing the GPR scans to scans of other temples in the region.

Further research will involve an investigation of structural rehabilitation methods including the possible use of fiber reinforcement to address internal void and other conditions associated with the blocks. As the project progresses, blocks will be treated for deterioration such as cracks, lichen, and residue, which are detrimental to their structural capacity. The three-dimensional modeling of the temple and the temple blocks is an ongoing process, used to determine the blocks’ locations within the original structure so further analysis can occur. Structural analysis will involve seismic loading and may be used to determine the original cause of the temple’s collapse.

As a result of this project, architectural engineering students have gained an insight into structural engineering and historic preservation while advancing various methods and applications in their performance of research. Through years of progress, Dr. Erdogmus and her students are making contributions toward the reconstruction and eventual use of this temple as a heritage site.

The funding for this project is provided by National Science Foundation, Harvard Loeb Library Foundation, and numerous UNL internal grants, including Layman Grant, interdisciplinary grant, and UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences), and the directors are deeply grateful for this financial support that allowed them to build and continue on this challenging interdisciplinary study.

More information for the Temple Reconstruction project can be found at:

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