The Recycling of Building Materials in Late Antiquity: Practice and Ideology Saturday 9th March, 10.00-4.00 pm The Birley Room, D203, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, UK
Schedule: 10.00 am Coffee I: 10.30-11.15 Managing Spolia: Legislation and Economy Legislation and Architectural Reuse in the Roman Empire (100 BC – AD 500) By Yuri Marano, firstname.lastname@example.org In his Institutes, a handbook on law written at the times of the emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), the jurist Gaius lists the sources of Roman law and the many ways in which legislation might arise in the Roman world: “The laws of the Roman people are based upon acts, plebeian statutes, resolutions of the Senate, imperial enactments, edicts of those having the right to issue them, and answers given by jurists” (Gaius, Inst. 1.2). In fact the number and complexities of the legal texts from the Roman world far surpass anything we have from other ancient societies, and this huge body of evidence allows chance to investigate how Roman jurists wished to regulate public and private construction activity. In particular, this paper aims at exploring how Roman authorities coped with salvage and reuse of buildings materials, focussing on the economic and organizational aspects of this practice. Proceeding chronologically and exploiting legal texts, literary and epigraphic sources and archaeology as complimentary evidence, it will demonstrate how recycling has been an important feature of Roman building industry through the Republican and Imperial periods as a source of cheap building materials and a solution to problems related to the recycling and disposal of urban waste. At the same time, reuse will be considered as a crucial aspect of the general Imperial policy of exercising control over civic finances and patrimony. Exploring the Economics of Demolition, Salvage and Re-Use in the Roman Period By Simon J. Barker, Independent Scholar, email@example.com To-date only the striking manifestations of recycling have received detailed attention - the re-use of large-scale architectural elements and reliefs, termed spolia, on the Arch of Constantine and other later Roman monuments, and the impact on architecture during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Current and past debates on recycling had almost exclusively focused on the symbolic motivations behind the use of spolia. However, a primary definition of recycling purely in symbolic terms is no longer helpful. It is the aim of this paper to provide an economic analysis of recycling through a determination of the costs and man-power required, according to formulae provided by 19th-century handbooks, for demolishing stone and marble structures, and an estimation of the quantities of material generated. The cost of demolition and careful recovery of materials will then be examined in relation to the man-power requirements for the production of the equivalent new material in order to provide a relative cost and potential savings for second-hand material. Overall this paper will attempt to place re-use not into its art-historical context but rather into its economic context. It will demonstrate that recycling required technical proficiency and point to a process unrelated to decline, skill deficiency, economic hardship, or purely symbolic motivations. Throughout the Roman period, materials were re-used because they were more economical than new ones and because these second-hand pieces produced the desired results – even in ‘pure’ spolia monuments, such as the Arch of Constantine. Coffee II: 11.30-12.15 Britain Reuse of Roman fabric at Wearmouth and Jarrow: patronage, economics, technology, ideology? By Sarah Semple, Durham University, firstname.lastname@example.org This paper explores the recent results from a re-assessment of the standing fabric of the pre-Conquest churches at Wearmouth and Jarrow. Considered ‘one monastery in two places’, these fragmentary, yet surviving structures testify to the architectural traditions of the early Northumbrian church. A new survey of the standing fabric combined with petrological examination of the stonework provides novel insights into the sourcing and construction of each and the varied use of recycled Roman stonework and architectural features at each location. The findings are set briefly into a wider context for the recycling and reuse of Roman sites and stonework in Anglo-Saxon England. Casual, Functional and Iconic? The Roman past in Anglo-Saxon Lastingham … and elsewhere Professor David Stocker, University of Leeds, email@example.com This paper briefly reviews the debate surrounding the re-use of Roman stonework in England; asking whether the proposed subdivision of re-use behaviour into ‘casual’, ‘functional’ and ‘iconic’ is still useful, and to suggest ways in which the topic can be developed. A second part reviews recent work at Lastingham (North Yorkshire) where, it is argued, recently identified Roman spolia may have been re-used with ‘iconic’ intent to mark the conversion of this landscape to Christianity. Lunch III: 1.30-2.15 North Africa Re-use processes in late antique North Africa: urbanism and economics. By PD Dr. Stefan Altekamp, Institut fuer Archaeologie, Berlin, firstname.lastname@example.org Re-use and conversion as symptoms of urban transformation become highly conspicuous in late antiquity and contribute considerably to a new urban landscape. Traditional research conceived this changed situation chiefly as mere reduction, as a systemic breakdown of the classical scheme and not as a qualitatively new reality. Accordingly, excavation strategies were geared to remove testimonies of ‘decadence’ while searching for classical strata. The paper considers research strategies for alternative readings of highly biased excavation documents and restricted evidence. Marbles and Spolia in Libya: Urban and Rural Churches By Anna Leone, Durham University, email@example.com The paper considers comparatively the evidence of spolia and marble decoration from urban and rural churches in Late Antique Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. By comparing and contrasting the different contexts, the paper aims at identify economic issues and religious traditions. Patronage and its impact on building forms and monumentality will be also considered. Tea IV: 2.30-3.15 Greece and Cyprus Spolia in Cyprus in Late Antiquity By Panayotis Panayides, PhD candidate, Durham University, firstname.lastname@example.org The identification of spolia in Early Christian basilicas in Cyprus highlights the involvement of the Church in the process but also brings up questions on its role in the practice of spoliation and allows further discussions on any possible meanings of this practice. By drawing focus on the architecture of two early Christian basilicas in Cyprus, this paper discusses that the issue of re-use was primarily motivated by economic forces and that the church builders valued the materials on the basis of their usefulness, rather than by considering any ideological implications arising from such re-use. The Parastaseis: Views and Interpretations of Ancient Monuments By Professor Helen Saradi-Mendelovici, University of Peloponnese, Greece, email@example.com The Parastaseis Syntomoi Chronikai is an account of monuments, especially statues, of Constantinople, written probably in the 8th c. Placed in the tradition of the Patria (accounts of local history, topography and legends). The Parastaseis records various superstitious beliefs regarding statues with a medieval literary style. Through the monuments the Parastaseis projects Constantinople as a Greek city, detached from the Roman tradition, and as a Christian city with numerous churches which Christianized its pagan past. The reference to iconoclast emperors in negative terms and the emphasis on the power of statues suggest that the text can be understood in the context of the iconoclastic controversy. Closing Discussion Discussant: Professor Richard Morris , University of Huddersfield, UK Dr Matthew D Eddy Durham University, Department of Philosophy, 50/51 Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HN, United Kingdom.