Newsletter plus article on the Ostia relief
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Roman Mosaic Workshops


Newsletter - Article on the Ostia relief
11th October 2014

Workshops coming up;

Four day Intensive Course in Roman Mosaics
Thursday November 13th - Sunday 16th

This is the longest course run at the workshop. Basically we go through all the aspects of both figural and geometric work and the technical side. Mostly it is working on mosaics so you can develop the correct habits and way of working under my supervision. 
Details are here

Full day course, London, October 26th, 9am - 6pm, Kings College. A full day course as part of the British Association's AGM and symposium. The location and booking details are here. Non members can also book on this course. One alteration from the flyer is that we will be using unfired ceramic tesserae so we can work on larger mosaics.

(Full day courses are available through the month at Bury St Edmund's. If you want to attend any of the workshops at the studio here on a particular date/dates that is not advertised then just get in touch and I'll see what can be worked out. )
Article
The Ostia relief.

This is just a brief article going through the evidence we have of tools used and for mosaic work the only unique one, apart from a staff is the hammer and hardie.

The main evidence put forward for this is the relief from a tomb on the Isola Sacra, Ostia. This shows to stone workers preparing stone using, what has been described as being either a scabbing hammer with 2 points (the ends are tapered to a point) or a flat bladed stone hammer, (taken from Jean-Pierrre Adam's book, 'Roman Building, Materials & Techniques).
Now look at a photo of the relief and I think you'll agree we can't definitely identify the type of hammer. Flat blade, as in the hammers we use now, or pointed?

Look also at what is below the hammer, are they holding stone over a hardie to cut into tesserae or holding a piece of stone and working it with just the hammer for something else? Now look at the material in the basket, what we must assume is the prepared stone. Is this a piece of stone with a cross hatch marked on it or is the craftsman who created this piece trying to show cut tesserae?

Although the tools shown don't conclusively prove they used a hammer and hardie as we know it, the material in the basket, to my mind, show prepared tesserae. Until we find a flat bladed stone hammer though we really can't say for certain. I've not gone through all the tool finds so I can't say they haven't found any so I'm open to correction.

(A full length article will appear on the website shortly, keep and eye on the blog or Facebook page for details.)
Until the next time,

Lawrence
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