Course title: “The economics and building techniques of Greek and Roman construction”.
With a view to analysing the dissemination of technological knowledge across the ancient Mediterranean, the course will deepen the theme of the elaboration and circulation of building techniques. Construction techniques are a field of study in full development also in relation to ancient economy and building sites. Techniques, intended as an expression of a socio-economic and productive system, can be related to imitation phenomena, trade, the presence of the army, the transfer of people, knowledge, tradition and cultures. The conservative or innovative nature of the techniques can say a lot about the dynamism of a certain society and its Mediterranean interconnections.
The first part of the course will provide a general overview of traditional studies on Greek and Roman building techniques, together with the most up-to-date methodological and multidisciplinary approaches. In order to analyse the characteristics of the techniques, as well as their specific use inside individual buildings or their diffusion in regional areas, different methodological approaches can be cross-referenced: stratigraphy of walls, production archaeology, anthropology, geology, structural engineering, archaeosismology. Particular attention will be paid to the construction site (the “cantiere”) and the production processes associated with it - from the supply of materials, to the actual construction - inferable from the analysis of the buildings.
Finally, some themes will be analyzed in more detail: archaeology of the quarries and economy of the production of stone materials (Greece and Rome); brick construction in Rome and Ostia; stone and brick construction in southern Tuscany; examples and mechanisms of dissemination of building techniques in the territories of the Roman Empire.