Breaking the Forma Aedificii Gatesensis

To state that almost all extant Roman sculpture is fragmented in one way or another is fairly banal. To answer why, when and how it was broken is anything but. Differentiating between the many different ways that fragmentation of sculpture occurs has been one of the main challenges of my thesis work. There are several […]

The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture # 3: Spolia

The term spolia is commonly used to refer to parts of monuments that have been re-used in later buildings. This kind of recycling was practised extensively in both the late antique and medieval periods, and has been the topic of a wide range of studies, including a recent doctoral dissertation by Maria Fabricius Hansen at […]

On Fragmentation Theory and Some Recent Works on Iconoclasm

Two interesting works on iconoclasm appeared in 2003. One was a book-length study on The Archaeology of Religious Hatred by Eberhard Sauer, now in Edinburgh. The other was a short article in Britannia entitled ‘Iconoclasm in Roman Britain?’ by Ben Croxford, a PhD student at Cambridge. Reading Sauer’s book when it came out was actually […]

The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture # 2: Treasure Hunters

Touring the museums of Turkey, the number of Roman sarcophagi on view cannot help but amaze. Of couse the great demand for them from collectors have led to widespread plundering, but even many of those in Turkish museums have been in the hands of treasure hunters. This is clear from the many sarcophagi with large […]

The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture #1: The Lime Kiln

The first post in a continuing series on the fate of ancient sculpture. One of the reasons why so much ancient sculpture is lost to us today is the widespread medieval practice of burning marble into lime. This was done in kilns, that have been archaeologically documented on a number of sites. Here’s an example […]