The latest excavations in Pompeii reveal, as archaeologists explain in the excavation journal, interesting aspects about life and construction techniques of the time.

An extraordinary example of this is found in the archaeological exploration of Insula IX-10, which is shedding new light on the processes and materials used by Pompeian stonemasons during the city’s final years of existence.

Excavations in this area have uncovered a true “frozen time capsule” at the moment of the fateful eruption.

Domus IX 10,1, which was undergoing renovation when Vesuvius erupted, has become a living laboratory allowing archaeologists and scientists to closely study the construction techniques used by the ancient Romans.

One of the main findings of this site is evidence of the use of an innovative concrete-making method involving the hot mixing of quicklime and pozzolan before hydration.

Remains of this pre-mixed material, still present in different corners of the domus, suggest that Pompeian builders employed advanced techniques for the production of their mortars and concretes.

However, the study of the decorative apparatus of the house reveals a different story. In this case, analyses indicate that the lime used for the restoration work of the mural frescoes was slaked lime, preserved in amphorae found in situ.

This finding highlights the diversity of techniques and materials that the Romans used depending on different construction needs.

The collaboration between the Pompeii Archaeological Park and a team of researchers from MIT is allowing for an in-depth exploration of these discoveries, with the aim not only of better understanding Roman construction technology but also of assessing its potential impact on the development of modern restoration materials, more sustainable and compatible with the ancient ones.

But Insula IX-10 not only offers a unique window into construction processes but also into the instruments and tools used by Pompeian stonemasons. Everything from lead weights for leveling, to hoes, shovels, and chisels has been found, artifacts that reveal the diversity of tools that construction workers used in their daily work.

Overall, the exploration of this Pompeii insula represents an unprecedented opportunity to integrate archaeological knowledge and scientific material analysis.

By combining these approaches, researchers hope to reconstruct Roman construction technology and its impact on society and culture of the time more completely.


Sources

Parco Archeologico di Pompei


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