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UNESCO Presents Design for Reinstallation of Aksum Obelisk

Thursday, 16 February 2006
access_time 1 min read

The project for the reinstallation of Aksum Obelisk (Stela 2) is completed

UNESCO has completed the engineering design for the reinstallation of the Aksum Obelisk (Stela 2). The design was developed by the Italian engineer Prof Giorgio Croci (Director of Studio Croci & Associati) who was also in charge of the dismantling of Stela 2 in Rome and of its air transportation to Aksum in April 2005.

The complex and unprecedented operation, which aims to reinstall the Obelisk composed of three parts, follows the following sequence:

  1. The preparation of the foundation to support the Obelisk and the provisional scaffolding;
  2. The construction of an embankment to slide the parts of the Obelisk before lifting them into position;
  3. The construction of a steel tower, which is 33 m high and weighing 150 tons;
  4. The joining of the blocks with carbon fibre bars to ensure seismic stability;
  5. The cleaning and restoration of the Obelisk before the removal of the scaffolding structure;
  6. The final landscaping of the site.      

Zero-risk approach

The main principle guiding this operation is to minimize risks at all levels. The project has included a careful assessment of the environmental impacts using high tech methods to investigate the underground archaeological structures and first-class engineering solution for the re-installation of the 150 tons Obelisk. In order to prevent possible damage to Stele 3, a provisional stabilisation structure will be installed before the reinstallation of Stela 2.

Future implementation of the project

Together with the Ethiopian and Italian authorities, UNESCO is currently completing the administrative, legal and technical preparation in order to start the operations in March/April 2006. The construction of the foundation and the embankment is due to be completed before the end of the Ethiopian rainy season. The actual reinstallation of Stela 2 will start as soon as the rainy season is over. Provided that all logistical and technical requirements are met, the operation will be finalised towards the end of 2006.