A Lamp from the Church of St Andrew in Betiga – A 3D Model of a Museum Object - "And There Was Light"

Archaeological Investigation of the Sveti Andrija Monastic Complex

Betiga is a now sparsely populated hamlet near the village of Barbariga. Its name is derived from the Bettica family, likely of Spanish extraction. This family, first mentioned in 1520 in relation to the town of Vodnjan, held land in this area. Betiga, however, has a much more ancient history, as is evident from the finds of the remains of a Roman villa rustica, late antiquity and early medieval edifices, an early Christian church dedicated to St Agnes, and a monastic complex dedicated to St Andrew.

Certainly the most significant archaeological contours we see today are those of the monumental Sveti Andrija (St Andrew) monastic complex, situated at the south end of the Betiga hamlet. The complex has been fully investigated by the Archaeological Museum of Istria. Rescue excavation in 1973 was followed in the period from 1975 to 1979 by systematic excavation and in situ conservation of most of the complex under the leadership of Branko Marušić, with the field documentation drawn up by Kristina Mihovilić and Fina Juroš-Monfardin.

The archaeological investigation revealed that the core of the monastic complex is comprised of an early fifth century triconch chapel (cella trichora) articulated with pilaster strips (lesenes) and decorated with a black and white mosaic pavement. The destroyed altar grave indicates that the structure was originally a memorial chapel. The basilica into which this chapel has been incorporated has a rectangular layout with a nave flanked by side aisles, and is dated to the first half of the fifth century. The nave is decorated with a multicoloured mosaic pavement with the inscriptions of the donators in medallions. A baptistery was erected to the south side of the basilica in the seventh century with an apse (interior semi-circular, exterior triangular). A quadrangular burial chapel was erected to the south of the baptistery in the eighth century. A monastery was raised in the second half of the fifth century to the west of the basilica, forming an integral structure with the church complex. The monastery is comprised of an atrium with a cistern, surrounded by porticos, a main entrance, and other rooms providing living quarters for the monks. Both the monastery and the church were abandoned in the thirteenth century.

In light of the frequent devastation of the site, 1996 saw the preparation and creation of detailed documentation valorising this monument. The drawing up of a new plan outlining the protection of the Sveti Andrija monastic complex was spearheaded by Archaeological Museum of Istria curator Fina Juroš-Monfardin. To this day the museum sees to the care of the site and its periodic monitoring and orderly maintenance.








Lamps are a very broadly disseminated category of finds. Fragmentation of the finds, however, makes an identification of the typological form difficult. Their function as sources of illumination is widespread, and we find them in many places, both sacral and profane. They are used to light both the modest village church and the grand cathedral and, to a lesser extent, the non-religious edifices of public and private use. Testifying to their importance and daily use are works of art that depict various types of lamps, including the biconical and funnel shaped forms. Thus, for example, the casket of St Simeon, an exquisite example of the goldsmith’s craft from the year 1380, kept in the church dedicated to St Simeon in Zadar, shows lamps on three of its reliefs. We also see numerous depictions on fresco murals of the thirteenth to fifteenth century. These include a fresco with the image of St Catharine holding a biconical form lamp at the church of The Assumption of St Mary (Santa Maria Assunta) in Muggia (thirteenth century), while a cycle of frescoes by Giotto at the Scrovegni chapel in Padua (early fourteenth century) shows lamps of the funnel form.

The prototype of the hanging lamp with lugs came from the early medieval workshops of the Levant of the sixth and seventh centuries. They served as models in the Venetian workshops of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The biconical form lamp with applied lugs (the mosque lamp type) has its origins among the oriental prototypes. It is the most frequent form in the early and late medieval period. The form saw multiple variants into the early eighteenth century.

These lamps usually had three lugs, through which a line was passed to hang the lamp, while some had entirely smooth bodies with no such applications. Lamps of this kind were frequent in Croatia’s southern region of Dalmatia (Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik), and we also find them in Slovenia, Italy, Spain, southern France and across the whole of the eastern Adriatic, i.e. in general across the Mediterranean area.

It is known that lighting fixtures were commonly found in the apsidal area of churches. Biconical lamps were suspended individually from a metal chain or could, with their annular thickened base, work as standalone light fixtures. Funnel-shaped lamps with elongated handles required the use of a metal stand (Greek polykandilon).








Škrinja sv. Šime u crkvi sv. Šime u Zadru / dokumentacija Arheološkog muzeja Zadar






Conservation-Restoration Treatment and the Fabrication of a 3D Model of a Museum Object

The conservation-restoration treatment of museum material from the Betiga / Sveti Andrija site includes the performance of preventative and curative protection of archaeological glass recovered in the course of archaeological excavation work in 1977. The curative protection entailed conservation performed primarily in light of the ongoing, evident and advanced, devitrification. Also performed was restoration treatment of the archaeological glass as required for the temporary exhibition and archaeological treatment of the material. 2016 saw the performance of curative treatment, i.e. the preventive cleaning and consolidation of 328 fragments of glass with the objective of achieving stabilisation and retarding further deterioration of the archaeological material. Consolidation was performed in light of significant damage (delamination) caused by the unsuitable climatic conditions in which the material was situated. All the glass material was examined for the purpose of its treatment, exhibition and presentation. The examination of the material revealed at least five biconical form hanging lamps of the mosque lamp type. The fragments were sorted by type and fabric and, following a detailed examination, the fragments that could be joined were isolated. The glass fragments were glued with a two-component epoxy adhesive




This rare and highly fragmented lamp was selected for presentation among the entire body of glass material recovered from the Sveti Andrija site. The fragments of the lamp were cleansed of impurities, glued and partially infilled for stability. A missing lug was fabricated using an epoxy mixture. Creating a complete reconstruction of the object was fraught with difficulty in light of the missing elements, i.e. the lack of a full profile. There were a number of attempts to fabricate the object, first in clay and then in an epoxy mixture—the results, however, were unsatisfactory.





Happily, the speedy development of additive technologies, which have also impacted the domain of archaeology, facilitated the identification of a method whereby the object could be presented. There is an established and growing use of 3D technology in the investigation and documentation of cultural heritage objects. It provides for the scanning, analysis and digital reconstruction of objects. 3D technologies can be leveraged to obtain interesting methods for the presentation of archaeological finds, including the use of interactive 3D models, hologram animations, and 3D facsimiles.

A three-dimensional model can be used as a tactile museological aid, as a souvenir, or for exhibiting in place of an original in cases when the artefact faces some form of threat. One of the following methods can be applied in the fabrication of a three-dimensional model: downloading a finished model from the Internet; drawing a full three-dimensional object from scratch; and scanning an existing object. In this case the only feasible option was to create the initial form (a technical drawing). The following step was to create a three-dimensional geometric model in a computer-aided design (CAD) software application, subsequently saved in a standard tessellation language (STL) format file that contains a series of commands in G-code format necessary to the process of creating a model. The model was prepared for printing using the Ultimaker Cura 3D printing software as it was necessary that it possessed a hermetic form with a closed monolithic surface, without gaps, which clearly distinguishes the interior and exterior of the model. For fabrication of the product the characteristic method sees an extruder with a heated nozzle element melt a polymer filament which is deposited layer by layer until the object has been completed. The three-dimensional model of the lamp was manufactured over a 35-hour period using an Ultimaker 3D printer. Fabrication of the 3D facsimile was followed by preparation for the fitting of the original fragments in the model and the gluing of PVC lugs used to hold a chain for presentation in the exhibition showcase.







Eight fragments of a biconical hanging mosque lamp with small, radially distributed, hanging lugs. Two of the artefact’s original three lugs are preserved, made of transparent glass of a very light dull shade of brown. Decorative glass threads are applied horizontally and obliquely on the neck of the lamp, while the lugs are decorated with uniformly spaced quadrangular depressions in a fishnet pattern. The rim is funnel-shaped and slightly everted, while the round base is conical and inverted, reinforced to the outside by a full ring.

Inventory code: AMI-S-6872
Material(s)/technique: glass / cast, applied lugs and decorative threads
Dimensions: lamp fragments, presumed height: 14.6 cm; mouth diameter: 11.5 cm; base diameter: 9 cm
Site: Betiga, church of St Andrew (Sveti Andrija), altar grave, in the mortar at the level of the mosaic (Branko Marušić, 30 Sept. 1975)
Date: 13th century






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A Lamp from the Church of St Andrew in Betiga – A 3D Model of a Museum Object
And There Was Light

 Carrarina 4, Pula
 Window to the Past
4. 2. - 10. 4. 2020.

 Exhibition and text author: Monika Petrović

Organizer and publisher: Archaeological Museum of Istria

 For the organizer and publisher: Darko Komšo

Editorial Board: Darko Komšo, Adriana Gri Štorga, Katarina Zenzerović

 Set up & graphic design: Vjeran Juhas

 Drawing: Monika Petrović

3D CAD drawing: Mario Ribica

3D print for AMI: Đeni Gobić-Bravar

Tanja Draškić Savić, Monika Petrović, Dokumentacijski odjel Arheološkog muzeja Zadar, Dokumentacijski odjel Arheološkog muzeja Istre

 Restoration treatment of the artefacts: Monika Petrović

 Exhibition coordinator: Monika Petrović

Translation in Italian: Elis Barbalich-Geromella

 English translation: Neven Ferenčić

Irena Buršić, Adriana Gri Štorga, Milena Špigić,
Katarina Zenzerović

 Print: MPS Pula

 Print run: 500

 Pula, 2020.

Typo3 site by Ulisys d.o.o. , 2010.