Front of a columnar sarcophagus.
This sarcophagus provides important evidence for working practices. Following initial roughing-out it was the architectural framework that was worked first, in particular the arches, capitals and bases which defined how the space was broken up. These appear to have been roughed-out (as evidenced by the columns) and then worked with the tooth chisel before any detailed carving of the figures began; the columns were not shaped with the tooth chisel because the figures were likely to overlap them. On the end (see PR305_04_03) the stages that this roughing-out was broken up into are clear. Only once the architectural framework was defined did work begin on the figures. These were carved individually, with the carver simply working in from the front plane of the stone, shaping them to a highly defined state before turning to the background around them. This is a working practice also found on figured sarcophagi at Rome but it is a different technique from that used on the garland sarcophagi where the form of the design was blocked-out and the surrounding surface cut right back to the background before detailed carving started.