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Open AccessArticle

The Color Palette of the Mosaics in the Roman Villa of Noheda (Spain)

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IRAMAT-CEB, UMR5060, CNRS/Université d’Orléans, 3D rue de la Férollerie, CS 60061, 45071 Orléans CEDEX 2, France
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Departamento de Historia Antigua, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Av. de los Altares s/n, 16071 Cuenca, Spain
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CEMHTI-CNRS UPR3079, Site Haute Température, CS 90055, 1D Avenue de la Recherche Scientifique, 45071 Orléans CEDEX 2, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(3), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030272
Received: 23 January 2020 / Revised: 16 March 2020 / Accepted: 17 March 2020 / Published: 18 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Mineral Pigments)
Excavations at the Roman villa of Noheda (Spain) revealed the remains of an exceptionally elaborate fourth-century floor mosaic that contains a surprisingly large number of glass tesserae, representing a broad spectrum of colors. This paper presents the results of the chemical (LA-ICP-MS) and microstructural analyses (SEM-EDS, XRPD) of 420 glass tesserae from these mosaics. The high number of data allowed us to establish the compositional variability and to elucidate questions of supply in relation to a large-scale artistic campaign. The tesserae from Noheda were almost exclusively made from recycled mixed Roman Mn and Sb base glass, thus demonstrating that recycling of Roman base glasses was common practice in the fourth century, occurring on a near industrial scale. It also suggests that the workshops specializing in the production of mosaic tesserae might have been in the western Mediterranean. A limited number of coloring and opacifying additives (Mn, Co, Cu, Sb, Pb) were identified, which resulted in a wide range of hues. These were differentially associated with various trace elements, which implies the use of different raw materials. A sub-set of red, green, and orange tesserae reflect distinct base glass characteristics as well as coloring technologies that point to an Egyptian provenance. View Full-Text
Keywords: Roman Mn and Sb glass; mosaic tesserae; glass recycling; glass coloring; glass opacifiers; LA-ICP-MS; XRPD; emerald green; plant ash red; orange; cobalt; antimony white; cuprous oxide; metallic copper; lead antimonate Roman Mn and Sb glass; mosaic tesserae; glass recycling; glass coloring; glass opacifiers; LA-ICP-MS; XRPD; emerald green; plant ash red; orange; cobalt; antimony white; cuprous oxide; metallic copper; lead antimonate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schibille, N.; Boschetti, C.; Valero Tévar, M.Á.; Veron, E.; de Juan Ares, J. The Color Palette of the Mosaics in the Roman Villa of Noheda (Spain). Minerals 2020, 10, 272.

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