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Using experimental archaeology to answer the unanswerable: a case study using Roman dyeing

By Heather J. Hopkins

Abstract

YesThis paper introduces a new approach to understanding the dying industry in\ud Pompeii. This study began with the construction of a full-scale replica dyeing\ud apparatus, copied from remains in Pompeii, to establish the operating parameters\ud of an apparatus. A determination of cycle time, fuel type and requirement was\ud made. The skeletal data of Herculaneum was matched to a modern population and\ud an ergonomic assessment of each dyeing apparatus was made. The replica was\ud amended to allow exploration of the eff ects of a change in design and ventilation.\ud A computer simulation using Finite Element Analysis was undertaken. The\ud design, cycle times and temperatures were taken from the excavated remains and\ud experimental fi ndings. The FE Analysis allowed the determination of physical\ud changes in materials during heating, the mode of failure of the apparatus and the\ud time span within which this occurred.\ud The approach and fi ndings of this study are both novel and new. The study\ud took a theoretical problem through replicative experimental archaeology into Finite\ud Element modelling. It allowed the problem to be understood and explored by those\ud from diff ering disciplines. While this study answers specifi c questions about the size\ud of the dyeing industry, it may be used to illustrate the application of a technique\ud to answer `unanswerable┬┐ questions

Topics: Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Dying industry, Dying apparatus, Experimental archaeology
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:bradscholars.brad.ac.uk:10454/4285
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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