Posted: 30 days ago
Updated: 18 days ago by JENNINGS, BR
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Quantitative Petrography in Ostia

Dr Jennifer Murgatroyd
Senior Geomaterials Scientist/Historic Materials Specialist, RSK

A suite of laboratory investigations was used to study samples of historic mortar from across the ancient Roman site of Ostia Antica, specifically to understand mortar mix designs. Fine aggregate profiles were generated by comparing the relative proportions of the different lithologies observed in thin sections. The pattern of fine aggregate selection in the samples suggested discrete mortar types, and the preference skewed toward specific reactive materials exhibiting a moderate degree of hydrothermal alteration.
The results of this study painted a picture of a well-developed industry of mortar production in an ancient city. The consistency of material selection, distinct mix designs, and material properties of the hardened mortars showed that the ancient builders in Ostia Antica were skilled technicians applying well-controlled techniques to produce sophisticated materials.


Richmond C7

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