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From βαλανεῖα to thermae: unveiling the transition from Greek to Roman architectural models of baths by technological and provenance archaeometric studies on bricks and tiles

  • Autori: Portale, Elisa Chiara; Raneri, Simona; Torre, Rosa; Mazzoleni, Paolo; Barone, Germana
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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So far unexplored, the introduction and the spread of the Roman thermal buildings in the prima provincia (Sicily) are widely debated in the current archaeological studies. Mainly due to the lack of systematic excavations and intensively technological studies, the assessment of thermae in the Hellenistic-Roman Sicily has been thus far interpreted as a new social and architectural experience. However, a more careful archaeological investigation would suggest a gradual transformation of the architectural landscape from the purely Greek bath tradition to the canonical thermae types. The aim of this paper is therefore to study the classical hot bath culture and, in particular, the transition from Greek to Roman architectural models (from βαλανεῖα to thermae) by applying an archaeometric approach on brick and tile samples from three Sicilian archaeological sites – Solunto, Taormina, Tindari – recently proved to be among the rst towns in Sicily in which Roman thermae were established in the Early Empire. Petrographic, mineralogical (XRD), micromorphological (SEM) and geochemical (XRF) analyses has been performed on a selection of bath building remains (comprising suspensurae, tiles, bricks) to explore technology and production issues. e obtained results allowed to identify local productions and to distinguish them from imports, redrawing some aspects of the historical, economic, social and technological construction context of Roman Sicily.