By Tarek Nazel
Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 9:1 (2009)
Abstract: The college-mosque of Sultan Hassan is considered one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture not only in Egypt but also in the East. Its open interior courtyard is paved with three different types of marble slabs. These marble slabs suffer from severe deterioration. Causes of this deterioration were determined accurately through the ocular examination of the courtyard and confirmed by the laboratory tests which were carried out on samples representing the three common types of marble used in the floor namely the white, the red and the black marble. Sunlight and heat are the main deterioration factors and the consequent thermal expansion is the main property which led to the detected deterioration phenomena. Types and mechanisms of deterioration affected the floor were described and explained.