Pompeii: plaster investigation

Research project on plasters used for Pompeian wall painting, 2002-2005, 2010-2012.

How did the Romans prepare the walls to make the paintings so extremely durable? Wall paintings exposed to weather and wind remain for centuries until they finally fade away or the preparation falls off. When studying the materials, there seemed to be differences related to time, and that the types were related to the so called Four Pompeian Styles. During the first research period I identified eight main groups of plasters defined A-H. At the end of the period a strange plaster turned up, which did not fit the pattern. This dark plaster seemed to be an earlier, not yet fully developed type. During the second research period focus was on early plasters. By then, an additional Pompeian style had been identified ”Style Zero”. The strange plaster  is connected to that style. The project, financed by The Swedish Research Council, was completed and published in 2012.

Thirty-two buildings in Pompeii are presented in the publications of 2005 and 2012. The project was made in collaboration with international universities and institutes and approved by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompeii. Analyses of samples was performed at CNR/ICVBC in Florence. The entire work was published within the series of the Soprintendenza di Pompeii, Studi e Ricerche del Parco archeologico di Pompei, 37, 2018. See Publications.


The Temple of Jupiter, Pompeii. The original decoration is partially concealed behind a later phase
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