Structural Evaluation of a Timber Construction Element Originating from the Great Metéoron Monastery in Greece

Dilek Dogu, Nural Yilgör, George Mantanis, Fatma Digdem Tuncer


This study identified the wood species and evaluated the degree of weathering and biological degradation of a historical timber construction element originating from the Great Metéoron monastery in Metéora, Greece. The wood material was provided from the interior side of a balcony that was fully covered with a roof and exposed to outdoor conditions for more than 400 years. The species was identified as Quercus spp. of the white oak group. In the timber element, the physical, morphological, and chemical changes were studied to assess the type and extent of degradation using light microscopy and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. To examine the degree of biological degradation and weathering, the surface layer and inner parts of the specimen were studied separately and compared with a recent wood specimen of the same species. The FT-IR analysis revealed remarkable differences between the surface layer and the inner parts of the historical wooden element. Macroscopic and microscopic investigation indicated that multiple types of degradation caused by weathering, fungi, and insect attacks had occurred in the wood structure. It was finally concluded that the historical timber construction element was in better condition than was expected before the study.


Great Metéoron monastery; Historical timber; Wood anatomy; Wood identification; FT-IR; Weathering; Biodegradation

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126