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The Project

The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stoneworking in the Roman World is a two-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust between July 2011 and June 2013, and based in the Departments of Classics and of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. The project’s aim is to enhance our understanding of the physical process of working stone in the Roman period and to investigate the relationship between the surviving objects, the techniques of production and their makers. This is achieved via a web resource which enables people to explore the tools, materials and processes used in the making of these stone monuments.

The project is a close collaboration with Peter Rockwell, a practicing stone carver, expert on the subject and author of The Art of Stoneworking: a reference guide (1993). The principal dataset is his photographic archive. A small part of this collection ­–some 2,000 of the total 20,000 slides– has been digitized and made available together for the first time. Working with Peter, the project team has catalogued and studied these images. This was done during discursive interviews which have resulted in the commentaries accompanying each image, or source. These provide an explanation of the surviving marks on the stone, the tools that made them or the working practices they relate to. Each piece of evidence is placed in sequence alongside other operational activities, such as guidelines for the planning of decorative schemes, measuring points, lifting bosses, clamps for securing blocks in place and any further details that can be used to reconstruct the overall organization of carving work as part of the larger project of creation.

Information on monumentstoolsprocessesmaterials and places is available on the category pages. There are also new essays on stone carving in the Roman world and videos recording interviews with Peter Rockwell and demonstrations of carving in action. Together these bring to life the actions to which the images attest. In order to complete the resource, the team combines expertise in archaeology, art history, digital humanities and practical making. By integrating this different material, the project goes beyond conventional archival projects and hopes to engage a diverse audience.

For more information about the project follow these links

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Alternatively if you would like greater detail about the making of the resource then read our essay.