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Rome, February 2012

Posted by: Will Wootton 10 years, 3 months ago

At the beginning of this month three members of the team - Will Wootton, Michele Pasin, and Ben Russell - flew out to Rome to meet with Peter Rockwell and begin the next set of interviews. After several fruitful meetings, and on Peter's advice, we have decided to make a few changes to our data entry system. These changes will enable us to model in a more useful way the relationship between detailed carving of decoration on monuments and what Peter calls the 'rhythm of construction', that is the process of actually erecting the structure. While most detailed ornamental carving in the Roman period was done only once the blocks of stone had been put up this was demonstrably not always the case - and it certainly was not always the case in later periods, as the famous facade of Orvieto cathedral demonstrates. Our new data entry system will also allow us to enter evidence for measuring, the laying-out of guidelines, and other activities such painting or the addition of metal inserts in the same way as we have already been entering toolmarks. This was also a good opportunity to look through Peter's extensive collection of tool stone-carving tools and explore his workshop a little further.

Following the return of Will and Michele to the UK, Peter and Ben have been working through the remainder of Peter's slides of Roman carvings, especially his large collection of material from the important site of Aphrodisias in Turkey. For more information about this site, famous for its high-quality local sculptors in the Roman period, see the website of the on-going New York University excavations at Aphrodisias. Several images of material from Aphrodisias are included here: details of an unfinished relief, on which the rough marks of a point chisel can be seen on the background, and an unfinished sarcophagus, on which Hermes' caduceus was never completed.

Will and Ben will return to Rome to work with Peter in late May when they will also present a paper on The Art of Making project at the ASMOSIA (Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity) conference at the Sapienza - Università di Roma.