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Subject: Mortars and plasters

Mortars and plasters

From: Elizabeth Moss <moss.e>
Date: Friday, October 26, 2001
    **** Moderator's comments: This query comes from a person who is
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With the University of Pennsylvania Museum Excavations at Caesarea
Maritima nearing completion and gearing up for the final publication
of the site, I'm looking for someone familiar with archaeological
mortars to participate in the characterization of the mortars and
plasters of the Promontory Palace to help understand building
chronology and phasing.

Due to the extreme exposure to the Mediterranean and the current
state of site preservation, definitively dating the Lower Promontory
has not been possible using traditional field techniques.  However,
if it is contemporary with King Herod's harbor (ca. 22-10BCE), it is
likely that the hydraulic mortars and waterproof plasters share
characteristics (i.e. imported pozzolanic additives), while later
repair mortars utilize a higher percentage of pulverized ceramic
material.  Presumably, the finer and earlier buildings (i.e. lower
promontory palace complex and pool) used a finer quality mortar and
plaster than later building campaigns or repairs.

30 samples from representative locations have been removed for
destructive testing.  Our team anticipates receiving limited funding
to prepare thin section slides of the samples so that they can be
examined and characterized using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM).
Subsequently, several of the samples will be subjected to Thermal
Analysis (T-A) for confirmation.  While we have already made
arrangements to perform the T-A, we are still looking for someone
with expertise in characterizing thin sections of Roman mortar using
Polarized Light Microscopy to participate in this research.

I encourage anyone interested to contact me directly for more
information and project clarification.

Elizabeth Moss

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:35
                 Distributed: Monday, October 29, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-35-028
Received on Friday, 26 October, 2001

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