University of Leicester
1992MorganGCPhd.pdf (19.37 MB)

Romano - British Mortars and Plasters

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posted on 2013-01-18, 12:34 authored by Graham C. Morgan
This thesis is a study into the extent to which the comments of the classical writers regarding plaster, mortar and pigments can be tested by archaeological science applied to a data base from the Roman period in Britain. My original interest in this project was stimulated by reading Davey and Ling's excellent book on wallpainting in Roman Britain (Davey and Ling 1982), which, although very enlightening, I felt lacked some technical aspects which required proper scientific study. Whilst art historical studies are fairly common, they often contain little technical information. Technological aspects of painting and plastering have been reported on (Weatherhead 1987), but the scientific analysis of the materials is rarely encountered (Ashurst 1984; Davey 1961; Plesters in Rahtz 1963: 337 - 341; Wetzel 1980, have all commented on various selected aspects of mortar and plaster composition). The art historical aspects of wall painting are not discussed here, being detailed elsewhere by recent authors (Davey and Ling 1982; Ling 1985; 1991). Pigment and mortar analyses have been carried out in the past, notably by Sir Humphry Davy in Rome, who carried out perhaps some of the earliest detailed chemical analysis in attempting, with considerable success, to investigate the nature of Egyptian blue and other pigments (Davy 1815), and Buckman in Cirencester, who made useful studies into the composition of plaster and pigments (Buckman 1850). However, a comparative study of Romano - British material currently does not exist, and I saw the need for a systematic study into the scientific aspects as yet only touched upon. Such a study I thought would provide a data base for the comparison of past and future analyses. [Taken from the Introduction]


Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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