26 January 2010

Materials and techniques used in Hungarian Roman sites (2009)

Title: Study of the building and decorative materials and techniques used in Hungarian Roman sites
Author: Anna Ruggeri
University: University of Bologna (Italy)
Year: 2009
Type of document: PhD thesis
Download: http://amsdottorato.cib.unibo.it/... (pdf, 10.9 Mb)

The aims of this research were: - To identify the characteristics, properties and provenance of the building and decorative material found in three Hungarian Roman sites: Nagyharsány, Nemesvámos-Balácapuszta and Aquincum - To provide a database of information on the different sites - To have an overview of main conservation strategies applied in Hungary. Geological studies, macroscopical and microscopical observations, XRD investigations, physical and chemical analyses allowed us to define the characteristics and properties of the different kinds of collected materials. Building stones sampled from Nagyharsány site showed two different kinds of massive limestone belonging to the areas surrounding the villa. Also Building stones sampled from Nemesvámos-Balácapuszta Roman villa proved to be compatible with limestone belonging to local sources. Mural painting fragments show that all samples are units composed of multilayered structures. Mosaic tesserae can be classified as following: -Pale yellow , blackish and pink tesserae are comparable with local limestone; -White tessera, composed of marble, was probably imported from distant regions of the Empire, as the usual practice of Romans. Mortars present different characteristics according to the age, the site and the functions: -Building mortars are generally lime based, white or pale yellow in colour, present a high percentage of aggregates represented by fine sand; -Supporting mortars from both mosaics and mural paintings are reddish or pinkish in colour, due to the presence of high percentage of brick dust and tiles fragments, and present a higher content of MgO. Although the condition of the sites, there is an insignificant content of soluble salts. Database The whole study has allowed us to provide work sheets for each samples, including all characteristics and properties. Furthermore, all sites included in the frame of the research have been described and illustrated on the base of their floor plans, material and construction methodologies. It can be concluded that: 1. In Nagyharsány Archaeological site, it is possible to define a sequence of different construction phases on the base of the study of building material and mortars. The results are comparable with the chronology of the site provided by the archaeologists 2. The material used for construction was of local origin while the more precious ones, used for decorative elements, were probably imported from long distance 3. Construction techniques in Hungary mainly refer to the usual Roman knowledge and practice (Vitruvius); few differences have been found 4. The database will represent an archive for Archaeologists, Historians and Conservators dealing with Roman period in Hungary.

Table of contents:

1.The research project
2. Introduction
3. Material and Methods
4. Results
5. An attempt of comparison between Hungarian and Greek Roman sites: the Galerius Palace of Thessaloniki and Dion Archaeological site
6. Conservation in Hungary: an overview of main strategies
7. Discussion
8. Conclusions
9. Bibliography
10. Other bibliographic sources

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