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Article

The Colors of the Circus Mosaic from Barcino (Roman Barcelona): Characterization, Provenance, and Technology Issues

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Departament de Geologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Edifici C, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain
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Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàssica (ICAC), Plaça d’en Rovellat, 43003 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
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Departamento de Ciències de l’Antiguitat i de l’Edad Mitjana, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Edifici B, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain
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Departamento de Geología, Geografía y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Ciencias, Campus Científico Tecnológico, Universidad de Alcalá (UAH), 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
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ALBA Synchrotron Light Source, 08290 Barcelona, Spain
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Department of Geosciences, IDAEA-CSIC, Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, Passeig de Santa Madrona, 39, 08038 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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Freelance Conservator-Restorer, c/Sancho de Ávila 119, 10è, 5a, 08018 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Domenico Miriello
Minerals 2021, 11(7), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070746
Received: 7 June 2021 / Revised: 6 July 2021 / Accepted: 7 July 2021 / Published: 9 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colours in Minerals and Rocks)
Archaeometric studies on mosaics often concentrate only on glass tesserae, while comprehensive studies including both stone and glass tesserae are scarce; however, both types of tesserae can sometimes bring relevant data to elaborate archaeological knowledge on a studied mosaic. In this paper, a representative set of tesserae from a large polychrome Roman mosaic retrieved in Barcelona (NE Spain) is investigated using various methods. Most of the techniques were directly applied on samples prepared as petrographic thin sections (including polarized-light, cathodoluminescence and electron microscopies, and synchrotron through-the-substrate μX-ray diffraction). The results indicate that, from the ten sampled stone tesserae, there are (i) seven limestones, one of them identified as Alveolina limestone (early Eocene) from the southern Pyrenees (ii) two sandstones from Barcelona’s Montjuïc hill (Miocene) and, (iii) a Carrara white marble from the Apuan Alps (Italy). The profuse presence of tesserae of both local and imported materials with well-known uses in architecture, epigraphy, and sculpture could imply that tesserae were a by-product of their main use. Two different production technologies were identified for the three sampled glass tesserae. The concurrent use of antimony- and tin-based opacifiers is in agreement with the accepted archaeological chronology of the mosaic (4th century AD). View Full-Text
Keywords: mosaic; archaeometry; glass and stone tesserae; provenance; opacification; cathodoluminescence; Roman period; thin section petrography; SEM-EDS; tts-μXRD mosaic; archaeometry; glass and stone tesserae; provenance; opacification; cathodoluminescence; Roman period; thin section petrography; SEM-EDS; tts-μXRD
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MDPI and ACS Style

Casas, L.; Di Febo, R.; Boix, C.; Egea, A.; Vallcorba, O.; Queralt, I.; Anglisano, A.; Moreno, I.; Andino, L. The Colors of the Circus Mosaic from Barcino (Roman Barcelona): Characterization, Provenance, and Technology Issues. Minerals 2021, 11, 746. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070746

AMA Style

Casas L, Di Febo R, Boix C, Egea A, Vallcorba O, Queralt I, Anglisano A, Moreno I, Andino L. The Colors of the Circus Mosaic from Barcino (Roman Barcelona): Characterization, Provenance, and Technology Issues. Minerals. 2021; 11(7):746. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070746

Chicago/Turabian Style

Casas, Lluís, Roberta Di Febo, Carme Boix, Albert Egea, Oriol Vallcorba, Ignasi Queralt, Anna Anglisano, Isabel Moreno, and Lorena Andino. 2021. "The Colors of the Circus Mosaic from Barcino (Roman Barcelona): Characterization, Provenance, and Technology Issues" Minerals 11, no. 7: 746. https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070746

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