Navigation – Plan du site

The tuffs of the “Servian Wall” in Rome

Materials from the local quarries and from the conquered territories
Les tufs des « Mura Serviane » de Rome : matériaux provenant de carrières locales et de carrières des territoires conquis
Liliana Panei
p. 39-43

Résumés

In the context of the current scientific collaboration between the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Roma and the Laboratorio di Sperimentazione Mineraria e Petrografica del Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, a study has been carried out on some tuff blocks recovered during the redecoration of the historic building where our laboratory is located (the building is on Quirinale hill). Archaeological sources affirm that these blocks belong to the first wall that surrounded Rome, the wall named “Mura Serviane”. It was built from the 6th to the 4th century B.C. An archaeometric study of the tuff blocks has been carried out aiming to identify the kind of raw materials used and to compare the results with the data regarding the tuff banks set in the area of Rome: in the central area and in the north of Rome.

Haut de page

Entrées d’index

Mots-clés :

DRX, colline du Quirinal, tuf
Haut de page

Texte intégral

Introduction

1The tuff is a volcanic conglomerate that consists of pumice, lithic and scoriaceous lapilli and crystals of sanidine, pyroxene and biotite cementated by finely crystalline zeolite (Rittman, 1972; De Gennaro et al., 1990). Tuff dimension stone masonry was the primary stone construction material of ancient Rome.

2The roman tuffs were erupted as pyroclastic flows from nearby Monti Sabatini and Alban hills volcanic complex belonging to the potassic quaternary volcanites roman comagmatic region (De Rita, 1993). There are various pyroclastic flow deposits in the area of Rome: “tufo del Palatino” (so-called “cappellaccio” or “tufo grigio”) and “tufo lionato” (Rubris Lapidicinis), bothfrom the Alban hills volcanic complex, in the central area of Rome (Fornaseri & Scherillo, 1963; Funicello, 1995; Penta, 1955; Stoppani & Curti, 1982; Funicello & Giordano, 2005; Funicello et al., 2006; Jackson et al., 2006); “tufo giallo della via Tiberina” (so-called “tufo di Grotta Oscura”) and “tufo rosso a scorie nere” (“tufo di Fidene” – Pallensibus Lapidicinis), both from the Sabatini volcanic complex, in the north of Rome as far as “Prima Porta” (De Rita, 1993; Funicello, 1995; Mattias & Ventriglia, 1970; Nappi et al., 1979; Penta, 1955; Stoppani & Curti, 1982; Ministero dell’Industria, 1995). Several authors (Cifani, 1997; Funicello, 1995, Funicello et al., 2006; Ventriglia, 1971; Ventriglia, 2002; Jackson et al., 2006) report that, in the central area of Rome, grey tuff building stones were quarried by Romans. The tuffs from the central area were used in Rome from the 6th century B.C. while the tuffs from the north of Rome, “tufo giallo della via Tiberina” and “tufo rosso a scorie nere”, were used in Rome only from the 4th century B.C., after the conquest of Veio (Cifani, 1997; Cifani & Fogagnolo, 1998; Cifani, 2004; Cifani, 2008; De Rita et al., 1993; Funicello et al., 2006).

3During last years several archaeometric studies have been carried out on Roman tuff building stones (Dell’Orso & Panei, 2008; Giampaolo et al., 2006; Jackson et al., 2005; Karner et al., 2001; Lombardi & Meucci, 2006).

4In the context of the current scientific collaboration between the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Roma and the Laboratorio di Sperimentazione Mineraria e Petrografica del Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, an archaeometric study has been carried out on Roman tuff building stones (fig. 1) recovered during the redecoration of the historical building where our laboratory is located (the building is on Quirinale hill).

Figure 1: Roman building stones in the building on Quirinale hill.
Figure 1 : Moellons romains sur la colline du Quirinal.

Figure 1: Roman building stones in the building on Quirinale hill.Figure 1 : Moellons romains sur la colline du Quirinal.

5Archaeological sources state that these tuff building stones belong to the first wall that surrounded Rome, the wall named “Mura Serviane” (Servian Wall). It was built from the 6th to the 4th century B.C. The topic of the work is the research of the source of the lithic materials used for the tuff building stones recovered in the historic building.

1. Methods

Mineralogical analysis has been performed aiming to characterise:

1) the raw material used for the tuff building stones;

2) the tuff deposits in the central area and in the north of Rome.

Six samples were analysed:

– one sample from the tuff building stones recovered in the historical building where our laboratory is located (Block-1, fig. 1, block size 27 x 46 x 72 cm);

– one sample from the tuff deposit in the courtyard of the historical building (Bank-1, fig. 2a);

– two samples from the tuff deposits on Palatino hill (Bank-2, “tufo del Palatino” and Bank-3, “tufo lionato” (fig. 2b);

– two samples from the tuff deposits in the north of Rome (Bank-4, “tufo giallo della via Tiberina” (fig. 2c) and Bank-5 “tufo rosso di Fidene” (fig. 2d).

6The mineralogical composition has been established by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD – Philips PW 1830 – Operation condition: Generator tension 40 KW – Generator current 30 mA – Tube anode Cu – Filter Ni;  Divergence slit 1/2 – Receiving slit 0,2 – Start, end angles 2-70 degree – Step size 0,02 degree - Time per step 1 s).

Figure 2: Tuffs from the area of Rome
Figure 2 : Tufs de la région de Rome

Figure 2: Tuffs from the area of Rome Figure 2 : Tufs de la région de Rome

a) “tufo del Palatino”; b) ”tufo lionato”; c) ”tufo giallo della via Tiberina”; d) “tufo rosso di Fidene”.
a) « tufo del Palatino » ; b) « tufo lionato » ; c) « tufo giallo della via Tiberina » ; d) « tufo rosso di Fidene ».

2. Results

Figure 3: Diffractogram of the Block-1 from the tuff  building stone on the Quirinale hill.
Figure 3 : Diffractogramme du block-1 provenant du moellon en tuf de la colline du Quirinal.

Figure 3: Diffractogram of the Block-1 from the tuff  building stone on the Quirinale hill. Figure 3 : Diffractogramme du block-1 provenant du moellon en tuf de la colline du Quirinal.

Legenda: Ht=halloysite; Anl=analcime ; Aug=augite.
Légende : Ht = halloysite ; Anl = analcime ; Aug = augite.

  1. Block-1, Bank-1 and Bank-2: lithified crumbly tuff constituted by grey volcanic welded ashes very rich in white altered leucite and black crystals. The main mineralogical phases (fig. 3, 4 and 5) are: analcime, a stable zeolite from leucite (Quantin & Lorenzoni, 1992), halloysite (an alteration product, found in different amount in the three samples), augite (a piroxene). The diffractograms of Block-1 and Bank-2 are quite superimposable. The glass occurrence is defined by a high background. The macroscopic feature and the mineralogical composition enable us to classify the material of the Block-1 as “tufo del Palatino” (“tufo grigio” or “cappellacccio”) belonging to the Palatino unit (Funicello & Giordano, 2005).

Figure 4: Diffractogram of the Bank-1 from the tuff deposit on the Quirinale hill.
Figure 4 : Diffractogramme du banc-1 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.

Figure 4: Diffractogram of the Bank-1 from the tuff deposit on the Quirinale hill.Figure 4 : Diffractogramme du banc-1 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.
  1. Bank-3 “tufo lionato”: lithified crumbly tuff constituted by yellowish red ashes rich in white and reddish yellow small sized lapilli and black crystals. The main mineralogical phases are: phillipsite and chabasite (two zeolites), biotite, small amounts of augite and leucite (a felspatoid). The glass occurrence is defined by a high background.

  2. Bank-4 “tufo giallo della via Tiberina”: lithified tuff constituted by pink ashes rich in altered small sized reddish yellow pumiceous lapilli; the matrix contains a few black crystals. The main mineralogical phases are: chabasite, sanidine (a feldspar) and augite. The glass occurrence is defined by a high background.

  3. Bank-5 “tufo rosso di Fidene” lithified reddish yellow matrix, rich in white and yellowish red small sized lapilli; the matrix contains a few black crystals. The main mineralogical phases are: chabasite and small amounts of augite and sanidine. The glass occurrence is defined by a high background.

The “tufo del Palatino” is the only tuff deposit in the area of Rome to be characterised by the presence of analcime as the only zeolite (Kostov, 1968).

Figure 5: Diffractogram of the Bank-2 from the tuff deposit on the Palatino hill.
Figure 5 : Diffractogramme du banc-2 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.

Figure 5: Diffractogram of the Bank-2 from the tuff deposit on the Palatino hill.Figure 5 : Diffractogramme du banc-2 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.

Conclusion

7This preliminary work confirms that the tuff building stones recovered in the historical building where our Laboratory is located (Quirinale hill) are made of “tufo del Palatino” (“tufo grigio”) belonging to the Palatino unit. The raw material used for the tuff building stones was extracted from a quarry located in the central area of Rome, probably next to the building were the blocks have been found.

We are grateful to Maria Antonietta Tomei of the Sovraindendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Roma for making the samples available.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

Cifani G., 1997. Le origini dell’Architettura in pietra a Roma. In Acta ad Archeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia. 4°, XIII.

Cifani G. and Fogagnolo S., 1998. La documentazione archeologica delle mura arcaiche di Roma. – RM 105.

Cifani G., 2004. Recenti approcci e metodi per lo studio dell’EDILIZIA ANTICA. Il caso della Roma arcaica. In Metodi ed approcci archeologici. L’industria e il commercio nell’Italia antica. Archaeological methods and approaches. Industry and commerce in ancient Italy. Oxford.

Cifani G., 2008. Architettura romana arcaica. Edilizia e società tra monarchia e Repubblica. L’Erma di Bretschneider. Roma.

De Gennaro M., Petrosino P., Conte M.T., Munno R. and Colella C., 2000. Zeolite chemistry and distribution in a Neapolitan yellow tuff deposit. European Journal of Mineralogy. Vol.2, 1990.

De Rita D., Funicello R., Corda L., Sposato A. and Rossi U., 1993. Sabatini volcanic complex. Volcanic Units. Quaderni de “La Ricerca scientifica” CNR – Roma.

Dell’Orso M. and Panei L., 2008. I tufi delle Mura Serviane: origini e caratterizzazione chimico-mineralogica, Archeologia a Roma Termini. Le Mura Serviane e l’area della Stazione: scoperte, distruzioni e restauri” (Mariarosaria Barbera e Marina Magnani Cianetti). Milano, 2008, pp. 96-107.

Fornaseri M. and Scherillo A., 1963. La regione vulcanica dei Colli Albani. CNR – ROMA.

Funicello R. (a cura di), 1995. Memorie descrittive della carta geologica di Roma.

Funicello R. and G. Giordano (a cura di), 2005. Carta Geologica del Comune di Roma. Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche Roma Tre – Dipartimento difesa del suolo APAT. Volume 1.

Funicello R., Heiken G., De Rita D. and Parotto M., 2006. I sette colli. Guida geologica a una Roma mai vista. Raffaello Cortina Editore. Milano.

Giampaolo C., Goretti L., Romani G. and La Vigna F., 2006. Estrazione ed utilizzi del “Lapis Albanus” dall’epoca romana ad oggi. In “Le risorse lapidee dall’antichità ad oggi in area mediterranea”. Congress Abstacts. Canosa di Puglia (BA), 25-27 settembre 2006, pp. 38-39.

Jackson M., Kosso C., Marra F. and Hay R., 2006. Geological basis of Vitruvius’ empirical observations of material characteristics of rock utilized in Roman masonry. InProceeding of the second International Congress of construction history – Cambridge 29 March – 2 April 2006.

Jackson M., Marra F., Hay R. L., Cawood C. and Winkler E.M., 2005. The judicious selection and preservation of tuff and travertine building stone in ancient Rome. Archaeometry, 47, 3, pp. 485-510.

Karner D. B., Lombardi L., Marra F., Fortini P. and Renne P., 2001. Age of ancient monuments by means of building stone provenance: a case study of the Tullianum, Rome, Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science, 28, pp. 387-393.

Kostov I., 1968.Mineralogy. Oliver and Boyd – Edinburgh and London.

Lombardi G. and Meucci C., 2006. Il Tufo Giallo della Via Tiberina (Roma) utilizzato nei monumenti romani, In Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei s. 9, vol. 17, pp. 263-287.

Mattias P.P. and Ventriglia U., 1970. La regione vulcanica dei monti Sabatini e Cimini. Mem. Soc. Geol. It., 9, 331-384.

Ministero dell’Industria, del Commercio e dell’Artigianato, 1995. Ricerca Mineraria di Base. Le zeoliti nel Lazio settentrionale. Aquater.

Nappi G., De Casa G. and Volponi E., 1979. Geologia e caratteristiche tecniche del “Tufo giallo della via Tiberina”. Boll. Soc. Geol. It., 98, 431-445.

Penta F., 1955. Materiali naturali da costruzione del Lazio. Arti Grafiche Panetto e Petrelli – Spoleto.

Quantin P. and Lorenzoni P., 1992. Weathering of Leucite to clay minerals in tephrites of the Vico Vulcano. Miner. Petrogr. Acta, XXXV-A, 289-296.

Rittman A., 1972. I vulcani e la loro attività. Cappelli Editore.

Stoppani F.S. and Curti E., 1982. I minerali nel Lazio. Editoriale Olimpia.

Ventriglia U., 1971. La geologia della città di Roma. A cura dell’Amministrazione Provinciale di Roma.

Ventriglia U., 2002. Geologia del territorio del comune di Roma. Rome.

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Roman building stones in the building on Quirinale hill.Figure 1 : Moellons romains sur la colline du Quirinal.
URL http://archeosciences.revues.org/docannexe/image/2599/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Figure 2: Tuffs from the area of Rome Figure 2 : Tufs de la région de Rome
URL http://archeosciences.revues.org/docannexe/image/2599/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 228k
Titre Figure 3: Diffractogram of the Block-1 from the tuff  building stone on the Quirinale hill. Figure 3 : Diffractogramme du block-1 provenant du moellon en tuf de la colline du Quirinal.
URL http://archeosciences.revues.org/docannexe/image/2599/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Titre Figure 4: Diffractogram of the Bank-1 from the tuff deposit on the Quirinale hill.Figure 4 : Diffractogramme du banc-1 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.
URL http://archeosciences.revues.org/docannexe/image/2599/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Figure 5: Diffractogram of the Bank-2 from the tuff deposit on the Palatino hill.Figure 5 : Diffractogramme du banc-2 provenant du dépôt de tuf de la colline du Quirinal.
URL http://archeosciences.revues.org/docannexe/image/2599/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 72k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Liliana Panei, « The tuffs of the “Servian Wall” in Rome », ArcheoSciences, 34 | 2010, 39-43.

Référence électronique

Liliana Panei, « The tuffs of the “Servian Wall” in Rome », ArcheoSciences [En ligne], 34 | 2010, mis en ligne le 10 avril 2013, consulté le 20 août 2017. URL : http://archeosciences.revues.org/2599 ; DOI : 10.4000/archeosciences.2599

Haut de page

Auteur

Liliana Panei

Laboratorio di Sperimentazione Mineraria e Petrografica, Ministero Sviluppo Economico – Largo S.Susanna 13, 00187 Roma. (liliana.panei@sviluppoeconomico.gov.it)

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Article L.111-1 du Code de la propriété intellectuelle.

Haut de page