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1,600-year-old frescoes undergo cleaning by laser

The 1,600-year-old frescoes in the Catacomb of St. Domitilla have been cleaned using laser technology.

Laser instruments were used to burn away the dirt and deposits, leaving only the rich colours of the frescoes beneath.

“When we started work, you couldn’t see anything – it was totally black. Different wavelengths and chromatic selection enabled us to burn away the black disfiguration without touching the colours beneath,” said Barbara Mazzei, who was in charge of the project. “Until recently, we weren’t able to carry out this sort of restoration – if we had done it manually we would have risked destroying the frescoes.”

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Story: Nick Squires, The Telegraph | Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

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