Building materials and techniques in the Eastern Mediterranean from the Hellenistic period to the fourth century AD
This thesis deals primarily with the materials and techniques found in the Eastern Empire up to the 4th century AD, putting them into their proper historical and developmental context. The first chapter examines the development of architecture in general from the very earliest times until the beginning of the Roman Empire, with particular attention to the architecture in Roman Italy. This provides the background for the study of East Roman architecture in detail. Chapter II is a short exposition of the basic engineering principles and terms upon which to base subsequent despriptions. The third chapter is concerned with the main materials in use in the Eastern Mediterranean - mudbrick, timber, stone, mortar and mortar rubble, concrete and fired brick. Each one is discussed with regard to manufacture/quarrying, general physical properties and building uses. Chapter IV deals with marble and granite in a similar way but the main marble types are described individually and distribution maps are provided for each in Appendix I. The marble trade and the use of marble in Late Antiquity are also examined. Chapter V is concerned with the different methods pf wall construction and with the associated materials. There is an enquiry into the use of fired brick and a comparative study of brick and mortar joint thicknesses in Rome with relation to those in the Eastern Mediterranean. Chapter VI looks at all forms of timber construction including roofing with a discusslon of the wooden roof truss. Chapter VII discusses the origins of the arch and vault, relating pertinent early examples to Roman usage. It is concluded that the Greeks probably played a large role in the transmission of the idea of arcuated construction to the west. The development and use of pitched-brick vaulting is also traced. In Chapter VIII the origins of domical construction are studied with examples from all over the Mediterranean. The origins of the pendentive are reviewed and a basic terminology is established in an attempt to end confusion. Chapter IX deals with epigraphic and literary evidence for the financial costs of ancient building including labour, transport and material expenses. Architects and other skilled workmen are also discussed, and there is a-study of the instance of re-use of materials in Late Antiquity and its implications. Finally Chapter X complements Chapter I in discussing architecture up to the 7th century AD in both the East and the West, tracing distinctly Eastern Roman techniques into the Byzantine period.