Masons’ marks can be seen as informative symbols designed to convey one or more pieces of information from stonemasons or officials to other actors involved in the carving and building process. As such, when evaluated in their respective archaeological contexts, they can shed light on the artisanal and technical dynamics at play at different stages of work on building sites. In Late Antiquity, the alphabetic characters, usually carved on stone elements only once, had the form of single letters, multiple letters in ligature, or monograms. However, the marked objects were often double-numbered or, more rarely, engraved with multiple groups of marks. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, a thorough study of this phenomenon aims to explain the function of these marks and their significance for the workflow. In some cases, assembly or positioning marks are coupled with workshop marks, indicating the need of different groups of craftsmen to convey specific technical information. In other cases, more than one workshop is recorded on a single piece, providing data on the complexity of the craftsmanship, on the labor effort involved, and thus on the economic dimension of the project. This paper attempts to reassess for the first time the phenomenon of multiple masons’ marks in its historical and geographical dimensions, with a focus on the building sites of the imperial capital and further reference to other archaeological examples throughout the Mediterranean.

Multiple stonecutters’ marks on marble in the Late Antique Mediterranean: distribution, function, and meaning / Marsili, Giulia. - In: POLISH ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. - ISSN 1234-5415. - ELETTRONICO. - 32:1(2023), pp. 31-54. [10.37343/uw.2083-537X.pam32.1.02]

Multiple stonecutters’ marks on marble in the Late Antique Mediterranean: distribution, function, and meaning

Marsili, Giulia
2023

Abstract

Masons’ marks can be seen as informative symbols designed to convey one or more pieces of information from stonemasons or officials to other actors involved in the carving and building process. As such, when evaluated in their respective archaeological contexts, they can shed light on the artisanal and technical dynamics at play at different stages of work on building sites. In Late Antiquity, the alphabetic characters, usually carved on stone elements only once, had the form of single letters, multiple letters in ligature, or monograms. However, the marked objects were often double-numbered or, more rarely, engraved with multiple groups of marks. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, a thorough study of this phenomenon aims to explain the function of these marks and their significance for the workflow. In some cases, assembly or positioning marks are coupled with workshop marks, indicating the need of different groups of craftsmen to convey specific technical information. In other cases, more than one workshop is recorded on a single piece, providing data on the complexity of the craftsmanship, on the labor effort involved, and thus on the economic dimension of the project. This paper attempts to reassess for the first time the phenomenon of multiple masons’ marks in its historical and geographical dimensions, with a focus on the building sites of the imperial capital and further reference to other archaeological examples throughout the Mediterranean.
2023
Multiple stonecutters’ marks on marble in the Late Antique Mediterranean: distribution, function, and meaning / Marsili, Giulia. - In: POLISH ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. - ISSN 1234-5415. - ELETTRONICO. - 32:1(2023), pp. 31-54. [10.37343/uw.2083-537X.pam32.1.02]
Marsili, Giulia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/957840
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