Ancient pozzolanic mortars show the high technological quality achieved by Roman construction workers, due to their ‘excellent state’ of preservation in every environment. These workers well knew that thanks to the combination of lime with specific volcanic products (pozzolana), mortar and concrete become hydraulic, allowing underwater hardening and increasing mechanical strength. The use of pozzolana in a mortar provides the underwater curing (hydraulic limes) of whatever construction with higher speed compared to carbonation processes of slaked lime. Whenever pozzolana is not available, it is substituted by ceramic fragments, which possess similar hydraulic properties. This research focuses, for the first time, on the detailed characterization of mortars coming from the Thermal Complex of Baia, which represents one of the most important archaeological sites in the Campania region. Thanks to several thermal springs, the ancient city of Baiae (Campi Flegrei) was the holiday resort of the Roman aristocracy. The former Soprintendenza Archeologia della Campania, allowed us to perform non-invasive, but representative, sampling of mortars that were characterised by multianalytical methodologies (POM, XRPD, SEM-EDS, TGA, and MIP) providing useful information on possible future activities of restoration. Results confirmed the expertise of Roman workers, who skilfully combined volcanic tuff aggregate, hydrated lime, and ceramic fragments. In particular, the typical zeolitic mineral association of phillipsite > chabazite > analcime found in the tuff aggregate pointed out their provenance from the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff related to the volcanic activity of Campi Flegrei of ca. 15 ka BP. The most relevant characteristic detected in all studied samples is the mortar hydraulicity testified by evidences such as reaction rims between pozzolana and binder, Hydraulicity Index (HI), and thermal analyses investigation. Also, composition of secondary mineralogical phases in the cementiceous matrix is particularly relevant. Distinctive is the contemporary presence of C-A-S-H gel, calcite and gypsum. C-A-S-H gel is derived from lime/ceramic fragments reaction; calcite is likely related to the partial reaction of underburned lime; and gypsum could be ascribable to the sulphation process of calcite. These secondary minerogenetic products fill pore space and enhance bonding in pumice fragments, thus contributing to long-term durability of mortars.

The ancient pozzolanic mortars of the Thermal complex of Baia (Campi Flegrei, Italy) / Rispoli, Concetta; De Bonis, Alberto; Guarino, Vincenza; Graziano, Sossio Fabio; Di Benedetto, Claudia; Esposito, Renata; Morra, Vincenzo; Cappelletti, Piergiulio. - In: JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. - ISSN 1296-2074. - (2019). [10.1016/j.culher.2019.05.010]

The ancient pozzolanic mortars of the Thermal complex of Baia (Campi Flegrei, Italy)

Rispoli, Concetta
Investigation
;
De Bonis, Alberto
Investigation
;
Guarino, Vincenza
Investigation
;
Graziano, Sossio Fabio
Investigation
;
Di Benedetto, Claudia
Investigation
;
Esposito, Renata
Investigation
;
Morra, Vincenzo
Validation
;
Cappelletti, Piergiulio
Validation
2019

Abstract

Ancient pozzolanic mortars show the high technological quality achieved by Roman construction workers, due to their ‘excellent state’ of preservation in every environment. These workers well knew that thanks to the combination of lime with specific volcanic products (pozzolana), mortar and concrete become hydraulic, allowing underwater hardening and increasing mechanical strength. The use of pozzolana in a mortar provides the underwater curing (hydraulic limes) of whatever construction with higher speed compared to carbonation processes of slaked lime. Whenever pozzolana is not available, it is substituted by ceramic fragments, which possess similar hydraulic properties. This research focuses, for the first time, on the detailed characterization of mortars coming from the Thermal Complex of Baia, which represents one of the most important archaeological sites in the Campania region. Thanks to several thermal springs, the ancient city of Baiae (Campi Flegrei) was the holiday resort of the Roman aristocracy. The former Soprintendenza Archeologia della Campania, allowed us to perform non-invasive, but representative, sampling of mortars that were characterised by multianalytical methodologies (POM, XRPD, SEM-EDS, TGA, and MIP) providing useful information on possible future activities of restoration. Results confirmed the expertise of Roman workers, who skilfully combined volcanic tuff aggregate, hydrated lime, and ceramic fragments. In particular, the typical zeolitic mineral association of phillipsite > chabazite > analcime found in the tuff aggregate pointed out their provenance from the Neapolitan Yellow Tuff related to the volcanic activity of Campi Flegrei of ca. 15 ka BP. The most relevant characteristic detected in all studied samples is the mortar hydraulicity testified by evidences such as reaction rims between pozzolana and binder, Hydraulicity Index (HI), and thermal analyses investigation. Also, composition of secondary mineralogical phases in the cementiceous matrix is particularly relevant. Distinctive is the contemporary presence of C-A-S-H gel, calcite and gypsum. C-A-S-H gel is derived from lime/ceramic fragments reaction; calcite is likely related to the partial reaction of underburned lime; and gypsum could be ascribable to the sulphation process of calcite. These secondary minerogenetic products fill pore space and enhance bonding in pumice fragments, thus contributing to long-term durability of mortars.
2019
The ancient pozzolanic mortars of the Thermal complex of Baia (Campi Flegrei, Italy) / Rispoli, Concetta; De Bonis, Alberto; Guarino, Vincenza; Graziano, Sossio Fabio; Di Benedetto, Claudia; Esposito, Renata; Morra, Vincenzo; Cappelletti, Piergiulio. - In: JOURNAL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. - ISSN 1296-2074. - (2019). [10.1016/j.culher.2019.05.010]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/753690
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