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A study of materials used in the production of Cypriot wall mosaics, with a special emphasis on artificial materials

Research project conducted by Olivier Bonnerot, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Cyprus









A number of monuments in Cyprus are well known for their magnificent floor mosaics. Indeed Paphos is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites primarily because of its mosaics. Wall mosaics are fewer to have survived and are often less impressive because most of them are only fragmentary. However, a few exceptions such as the mosaic of Panagia Angeloktistos in Kiti (Larnaca) are noteworthy for their good state of preservation. Therefore, wall mosaics in Cyprus have received far less attention than floor mosaics, in spite of their rarity and fragility. Recent developments in the field of analytical techniques have allowed scientists to better characterize the materials used to make such pavements and wall decoration with minimum sampling. Such study allows a better characterization of ancient technology and conservation issues which can arise. The aim of this research project will be a multidisciplinary study of the materials used in the production of these wall mosaics.  Attention will be paid both to the different types of preparatory layers and to the artificial materials used in the production of tesserae.  The aim will be to create a database listing the different types of artificial materials used in the wall mosaics on the island from different sites and period.  The database will also include information on the physico-chemical properties of these materials.