|The Logistics of Roman Building: A Comparative Study of Documentary Sources|
Simon Barker (Hertford College, Oxford) et Ben Russel (British School at Rome)
10 décembre 2009
(Session 2. Le coût des travaux, modérateur : Pierre Gros, Université de Provence)
This paper explores the extent to which post-antique documentary evidence can enhance our understanding of the logistics of Roman building with emphasis on the labour of stone-working and the cost of stone architectural decoration.
A considerable amount of research on the construction of ancient buildings has made use of nineteenth-century building manuals, in particular G. Pegoretti’s 1869 Manuale practico per l’estimazione dei lavori architettonici, stradali, idraulici e di fortificazione, per uso degli ingegneri ed architetti. This manual provides labour constants for a variety of stone types and stone-carving projects—for example: the carving of monolithic or fluted column-shafts, capitals, or simple rectangular blocks. Over the last decade archaeologists and architectural historians have used this manual to calculate the labour involved in the carving of architectural elements and ornamentation during the Roman period. The principal studies to date are those of J. DeLaine (1997) which looks at the Baths of Caracalla and P. Barresi (2000 & 2003) which focus on marble buildings in Asia Minor. Such work has made an important contribution to our understanding of the ancient building industry. However, though Pegoretti’s text, and a handful of others like it, have been used as a basis for understanding the cost and labour requirements of stone carving during the Roman period, we have no way of telling how reliable his figures actually are. Resolving this problem is the principle aim of our paper. This will be accomplished by gathering comparative data that can be used to better understand the labour involved in stone carving and to check the figures given by Pegoretti. This comparative data has been drawn from a variety of sources, including discussions with modern stonemasons as well as other nineteenth-century manuals and even modern building accounts that give the cost or labour times for stone carving.
Overall this paper will provide new insight into the logistics of stone-working practices during the Roman period and an evaluation of nineteenth-century manuals through an examination of hitherto uncollected post-antique sources.