This work reports the results of an archaeometrical investigation performed, through a multitechniqueapproach, on a series of Roman glass mosaic tesserae found in Pompeii excavations.Chemical and mineralogical analyses of mosaic tesserae of different colours were performed inorder to single out the colouring and opacifying agents employed in Roman times. Moreover, dueto the paucity of information on the production technology of mosaic tesserae, the chemical dataare compared with that of common transparent glass found at the same site, in order to evaluatewhether vessels and mosaic tiles could have been prepared with the same recipes and startingfrom the same glass batch. The chemical analyses were performed by Electron Microprobe,whereas the mineralogical investigation on the opaque samples were carried out by couplingScanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Powder Diffraction. The results obtained show that allthe analysed samples have the typical composition of natron-based glass. The similarities with thechemical composition - at least in terms of major elements - of common translucent glass couldsuggest the use of the same raw materials for the preparation of the batch. All opaque blue andgreen tesserae contain crystalline aggregates respectively of calcium and lead antimonates, exceptone blue tessera, which contains traces of cuprorivaite and quartz (Egyptian blue pigment). Thered sample shows the presence of cuprite aggregates dispersed in a lead-rich matrix.This paper is dedicated to the memory of friend and colleague Filippo Olmi, who prematurelypassed away few months ago.
Glass mosaic tesserae from Pompei: an archeometrical investigation / Arletti, R.; Quartieri, S.; Vezzalini, Maria Giovanna. - In: PERIODICO DI MINERALOGIA. - ISSN 0369-8963. - STAMPA. - 75:(2006), pp. 25-38.