This project explores the introduction and evolution of brickmaking in Noricum under the supervision of Roman military craftsmanship in the 2nd-3rd centuries AD. To this end, a multidisciplinary approach will be adopted, combining material science analyses with archaeological, historical, epigraphic and architectural data.

Introduction and diffusion of brick technology in Noricum

Brick technology is a distinctive hallmark of Roman architecture and was spread throughout the provinces with different solutions depending on local needs and territorial peculiarities. In Noricum, the development of brick structures had an impulse in the 2nd century and was mainly linked to military craftsmanship. The impending threat of the Germanic tribes led to the organisation of new legions to be stationed in defence of the borders. The presence of legionaries, initially recruited also in northern Italy, led to political, economic, productive and architectural changes, including the widespread use of adobe buildings.

Aims

Aim of this project is to trace the direct and indirect aspects related to the introduction and evolution of brick manufacturing in Noricum. These include, among others, the procurement and processing of raw materials, the evaluation of firing strategies, the quality of the final products in relation to place of production, intended use and chronological phase as well as the identification of contact trades, transfer of technical knowledge and innovations.

Methods

Samples will be collected at the military sites of Ločica, Albing and Lauriacum and will be analysed in three stages: (1) evaluation of archaeological, historical, epigraphic and architectural sources; (2) petrographic, mineralogical, chemical and physical-mechanical characterisation; (3) geological investigations to look for ancient clay pits and preparation of experimental briquettes whose properties will be compared with those of archaeological bricks. The same protocol will be used to study samples from Aquileia, a central junction for trades between the Alps and the Adriatic, where the construction technique had long been established. The comparison with Aquileia will provide a reference to verify the extent to which brickmaking was influenced by Roman Italy.

 

Principal investigator

    Cooperations

    Duration

    01/2022–12/2023

    Funding

    FWF- M-3172