The seismic protection of the historic heritage artifacts and statues, has become of the utmost importance due to the intrinsic high cultural significance and their poor behavior observed during past earthquakes. In fact, due to the height of their centres of gravity compared to the width of their bases, statues are generally prone to experience strong non-linear dynamic effects when subjected to large seismic excitations, that may cause also the overturning of the statue itself. In this context, the base isolation has proven to be a very effective tool in seismic protection of statue-like items. This paper describes the preliminary results from an extensive and accurate experimental campaign carried out at Laboratory of Earthquake engineering and Dynamic Analysis Research Institute at the “Kore” University of Enna. The experimental campaign was devoted to the dynamic characterization of the seismic performance of a innovative base-isolation system and to the assessment of the seismic protection of statue-like structural systems through full-scale model shaking table tests. The innovative base-isolation system consists of a simple and non-intrusive base that allows the free movements of the statue in both horizontal directions by means of a multiple articulated quadrilateral mechanism patented as Kinematic Steel Joint system. The allowable large stroke of the device and damping characteristics of the pinned joints are adequate to decouple the motion of the protected item from the ground and to dissipate the seismic energy, thus avoiding the occurrence of bumps or overturning. The Goddess of Morgantina statue has been selected as a case study for its peculiar story. In fact, the statue was provided of an isolated base, designedby Paul Getty Museum’s engineers, when exposed in California and in its present placement atAidone’s Archaeological Museum after its return to Italy.
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