The protection of important archaeological and heritage sites will involve the analysis of complex environmental factors in order to understand the potential causes of degradation. Eltek GenII telemetry datalogging systems have been used in key heritage sites to undertake research into potentially damaging environmental conditions and ensure preventative action can be taken to protect these sites for the long term future. It is often not until a detailed scientific study has been performed, gathering a variety of environmental factors over a significant period of time that damaging influences (sometimes even those which were thought to be corrective) can be correctly understood.
The Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum is Malta's most important archaeological site but has suffered increasingly from environmental damage since its discovery in 1902. An extensive conservation project carried out between 1991 and 2000 reduced ongoing damage from the increasing numbers of visitors but the site is still undergoing worrying levels of degradation. Observed damage includes:
In 2011, Eltek equipment was used to perform a year long study into the possible causes of this degradation. The following parameters were recorded using an Eltek GenII telemetry system:
A total of 59 transmitters were used to gather data throughout the site, with particular attention paid to the buffering effects of the visitor centre built above the hypogeum and the effect of visitors passing through the site.
Due to the very demanding levels of humidity within the hypogeum, special RH sensors that could withstand levels of RH up to 100% had to be used. Eltek were able to provide warmed Vaisala HM-155 RH sensors that give accurate and highly reliable data even under these harsh conditions.
The Eltek Darca Heritage software features advanced analysis tools that allow the user to create ‘calculated' parameters which are derived from physically measured parameters. This allowed the system to provide dewpoint temperature (DPT), absolute humidity (AH) and condensation data for analysis.