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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Microclimate monitoring of Ariadne’s house (Pompeii, Italy) for preventive conservation of fresco paintings

Paloma Merello12, Fernando-Juan García-Diego13* and Manuel Zarzo4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Applied Physics (UD Agriculture Engineering), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain

2 Valencian Institute for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage (IVC+R), C/ Genaro Lahuerta 25-3º, 46010, Valencia, Spain

3 Center of Physical Technologies, Associated Unit ICMM-CSIC/UPV, Universitat Politècnica de València, Av. de los Naranjos s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain

4 Department of Applied Statistics, Operations Research and Quality, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain

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Chemistry Central Journal 2012, 6:145  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-6-145

Published: 28 November 2012



Ariadne’s house, located at the city center of ancient Pompeii, is of great archaeological value due to the fresco paintings decorating several rooms. In order to assess the risks for long-term conservation affecting the valuable mural paintings, 26 temperature data-loggers and 26 relative humidity data-loggers were located in four rooms of the house for the monitoring of ambient conditions.


Data recorded during 372 days were analyzed by means of graphical descriptive methods and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results revealed an effect of the roof type and number of walls of the room. Excessive temperatures were observed during the summer in rooms covered with transparent roofs, and corrective actions were taken. Moreover, higher humidity values were recorded by sensors on the floor level.


The present work provides guidelines about the type, number, calibration and position of thermohygrometric sensors recommended for the microclimate monitoring of mural paintings in outdoor or semi-confined environments.

Multivariate monitoring; Temperature and relative humidity sensors; Cultural heritage; Preservation of open-air frescoes