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Book Chapter

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Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 8: Preservation of Cultural Heritage


The “Villa of the Antonines”, located at the 18th mile of the ancient Via Appia, is so far the least explored of the ancient Roman imperial residences in the area of the Alban Hills. Excavations at “Villa of the Antonines” permit an investigation of subsurface deterioration of cultural stone, addressing two primary questions: (1) What are the deterioration processes in the soil and sediment environment, and how do these compare to subaerial deterioration processes? (2) How might the deterioration impact other methodologies reliant on the analysis of the material, such as use and wear analysis, dating techniques, and provenience by chemical tracers? The deterioration characteristics of materials recovered thus far can be visually described. Marbles are discolored and exhibit a loss of polish and partial to extensive granular disintegration and powdering. Brick varies in color and composition due to manufacturing and material differences, but may also exhibit within-soil alteration. Glass tesserae exhibit frosting and pitting from chemical solution. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) reveals surface microdeterioration such as pitting, etching, and glazing. Qualitative backscatter electron microscopy (BSEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) indicate the distribution of elements, including byproducts of chemical deterioration, likely within the soil environment.



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Pope G.A., Aryamontri D.C., Wu L., Renner T. (2015) Deterioration of Stone and Mineral Materials from the Roman Imperial “Villa of the Antonines” at Ancient Lanuvium. In: Lollino G., Giordan D., Marunteanu C., Christaras B., Yoshinori I., Margottini C. (eds) Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 8. Springer, Cham.

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