Previous work to revoke Santullano confirms highway damage to temple

In the church of Santullano you can already see the three large panels that will cover its walls with mortar, just as the temple looked more than a century ago, in the coming months. This is just a hunch as work on the first load application will begin next week, but the restorer’s team Paul Klett you have already marked with tape the areas where the plaster will be applied. Previous work for these tests, which aim to verify the extent to which wall gloss will protect interior paintwork from moisture, revealed another well-known but still confirmed problem. During the cleaning of the walls to prepare them for the mortar, much more dirt caused by environmental contamination was found on the south side, along which the urban section of the “Y” highway passes, a few meters from the.

Klett explains that while they were preparing the surface of the walls for the whitewashing, with cleaning works and biocide treatments, they detected that the southern part had more dirt, “supposedly due to contamination, being at side of the freeway. It was in these eaves that they detected a more significant condition, with dirt adhering to the stone, allegedly caused by environmental contamination, although, he specifies, on this occasion no study of the substances contaminants detected has not been carried out.

After the temple walls have been cleaned, the three blocks where the mortar will be applied have been marked with tapes. In total there are 45 square meters, divided into two samples of seven square meters on the north and south walls and another of 17 meters on the east wall.

At the moment we are working with good weather conditions, although the forecast indicates that the rains will arrive next week. In any case, the work to carry out the liming tests in Santullano will be completed within a month.

In these earlier works, a consolidation of the plasterwork that still remained in the temple was also carried out. Especially on the east wall. The intervention of Fortunato de Selgas, between 1912 and 1915, which removed the charges from the temple, also preserved what he considered original. It is these original casts that, from now on, we will try to imitate.

To achieve this, explains Pablo Klett, we will use aerial limes in aged paste, very careful limes, with a curing process of several months. The original mortars, he explains, have a coarse grain size, you can see the stone that is part of the mass, very textured and quite light in color.

The final objective of these test plasters, also called “sacrifice”, since it is expected that their removal will be easier and that they can be separated without problems from the original mortars, is to improve the conservation of murals inside the church. For this purpose, once the exterior fillers have been installed, which will be of two types, some with sealing and others without this treatment, tests will be carried out inside the temple to see if the interior environment changes, if the rate humidity drops.

With all this data, the Ministry hopes to be able to make a definitive decision on the type of mortar to use if, as everything indicates, it is confirmed that the enhancement of the facade of San Julián de los Prados will favor the conservation of the paintings inside. Alongside the work that the Klett team is currently developing, another project will also be carried out consisting of a study of indoor and outdoor humidity, analyzing possible leaks and the effects that the rains cause in the pre-Romanesque temple.


  • You revoke them. The mortar will be applied to three different areas. In total there are 45 square meters. Two panels of 7 square meters each on the North and South walls and another of 17 meters on the East wall.
  • The mortar. The original mortars which are still preserved in the walls of the church have been consolidated and an attempt has been made to reproduce them in the charges which will henceforth be applied to the temple. Aerial limes will be used in aged paste, very careful limes, with a curing process of several months.


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