Conservation of the Roman Bath in Karanis (Kom Aushim), Egypt


Conservation of a small Roman-period public bath in Kom Aushim, the site of ancient Karanis, located at the edge of the Fayum Oasis in Egypt was designed and carried out by ARCHiNOS Architecture with the funding from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. It was a part of a broader program of excavation, preservation, and presentation of the site by the University of California, Los Angeles, in cooperation with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Holland) and University of Auckland (New Zealand).

The bath was excavated in 1975, and after almost 40 years of exposure to the elements, a lot of architectural and decorative details have decayed gravely and the ruins were in serious danger of further decline and collapse.

The objective of the work was to preserve the existing original material and to protect it from future damage, but not to reconstruct any lost elements. Conservation included primarily consolidation of masonry, protection from rainwater, and installation of permanent reinforcements to defective structural elements. As far as possible, materials and techniques used were similar to those of the original construction. Finally, the excavated building was partially back-filled.

For public presentation, a website has been produced, presenting the bath on-line in an interactive manner through models, animations, plans and photo galleries, with an extensive commentary:

August 2014 –  May 2015 (official opening: 26 October 2015)

Location: Kom Aushim, (ancient Karanis), Fayum Oasis, Egypt

Project Director: Agnieszka Dobrowolska;
Site Manager: Mahmud Badawi;
Head of the conservation team: Salem Imbarak
Liason with Egyptian authorities: The Association for the Urban Development of Islamic Cairo (an Egyptian NGO)