The complex of the "West Magazine", an impressive row of eighteen long, narrow spaces (numbered in Latin numerals from one to eighteen), forms the main storage area of the Palace of Knossos.
The construction-restoration work, undertaken between 2006 and 2009 in the context of the "Palace and Archaeological Site of Knossos" project, focussed on the southern, unroofed "Magazines III-VII". It was essential to conserve and restore not only the masonry but also the floors and the pithoi preserved in situ in this area.
The restoration work on the masonry comprises the following stages: removal of the old restoration material and strong cement from various intervention phases, cleaning of the joints, and repointing with new mortar compatible with the ancient materials (figures 1,2, 3). The stones used to cap the sockets of the vertical beams during the course of earlier interventions were also removed (figure 3). This provided important information on the position and diameter of the vertical and transverse beams (figures 4,5), the position of the lengthwise beam supporting the walls, etc.
The gypsum and limestone conservation work was undertaken in collaboration with the Stone Conservation Centre and included the following stages: removal of the mortar of earlier interventions from around the stones; mechanical and chemical cleaning of the surface and cracks; consolidation and repair of fragments; mortar injection and sealing of interior and exterior cracks using the corresponding mortars (figures 6,7). Finally, large detached fragments of masonry were attached using titanium rods.
The conservation of the ancient clay and lime plaster involved the consolidation and repair of crumbling and detached sections; removal of earlier interventions; binding of the ancient plaster all around the edge; mortar injections to fill the gaps; and mechanical and chemical cleaning of the surface (figures 8, 9).
Pithoi from "Magazines III-VII" were also conserved; three of these were replaced in their original positions, while it was also necessary to construct a temporary protective roof for them.
The new work, in the context of the National Strategic Reference Framework, concerns the extension of corresponding interventions to "Magazines XIII-XVIII". These are the northernmost, unroofed magazines, located after the end of "Magazines VIII-XII", which are roofed with reinforced concrete.