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CyI’s Researchers Create Replica of a Medieval Metal Cross of the Maronite Church of the Holy Cross in Karpasia

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At a ceremony held on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Mr Yiannis Karousos, handed over to the Maronite Archbishop, Mr Selim Spheir, a replica of a Medieval metal cross of the Maronite Church of the Holy Cross in Karpasia.

The original cross is made of an alloy of copper and iron, and dates back to the late 12th and early 13th centuries. This bilateral cross which represents the Crucifixion in the middle of its one side, with the inscription on the right, left and above the Crucified Christ, while below is the upper part of Christ, came into the possession of the Department of Antiquities in 1966, to be later exhibited in the Medieval Museum of Cyprus, which is hosted in the Castle of Limassol.

The Department of Antiquities asked The Cyprus Institute (CyI) to create the replica using specific technical procedure based on CyI’s technical expertise. The digital workflow consisted of several steps including data collection and post processing until a watertight mesh was created.

The method of lost - wax casting was followed for the 3D printing of the cross, and the choice of material was moldable plastic (a type of wax), which leaves no residue. In essence, the printed replica was the mold used by the foundry for the next step. After the brass replica was created, it was oxidized. The aesthetic intervention on the surface of the metal replica was done by Dr Iosif Hadjikyriakos, and included aging oxidation of the metal surface, as well as secondary intervention with natural pigments of metal oxides to give, as far as possible, the authentic image of the metal surfaces of the original. The aim of the methodology was to deliver a replica that renders the original as realistic as possible, both aesthetically and qualitatively in colour, weight and texture.

The coordination of the whole process on behalf of The Cyprus Institute was undertaken by Research Technical Specialist Marina Faka at the Antreas Pittas Art Characterization Laboratories (APAC Labs) of the Research Center for Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture (STARC) of The Cyprus Institute, in collaboration with the office of the Director of Research and Technical Support of The Cyprus Institute, Dr Vassilis Tsakalos. CyI researchers and staff that contributed to this work include: Research Technical Specialist, Marina Faka (overall project coordination, data collection and processing) Associate Research Scientist, Dr Dante Abate (data collection), Associate Research Scientist, Dr Svetlana Gasanova (data collection), Technical Instrumentation Coordinator, Agapios Agapiou (wax replica printing), Research Assistant, Andriana Nikolaidou (handing design), Associate Professor, Nikolas Bakirtzis (supervision and art history research). Also, the surface of the replica was then aesthetically treated and painted by Dr Iosif Hadjikyriakos to offer a realistic copy of the original.