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Understanding the economic influence of the dyeing industry in Pompeii through the application of experimental archaeology and thermodynamics

By Heather J. Hopkins, L. Willimott, Robert C. Janaway, Damian Robinson and W.J. Seale


YesThe influence of the dyeing industry in Pompeii on the local economy has been under discussion since the publication by Moeller in 1976. Since no absolute answer has emerged, the question was re-examined using two additional methods, experimental archaeology and the principles of thermodynamics.\ud A full-scale replica of a dyeing apparatus from Pompeii was constructed and used to simulate repeated dye runs, and so determine operating parameters such as the times involved to heat and cool a vat and the consumables needed. This first replica also allowed a better understanding of how the apparatus was actually used. Thermodynamic principles, which were applied to understand the successes and failures within the experimental work, suggested that the vat operated in a predictable way and enabled the operational mechanics of the vat to be established.\ud It is now possible to use both the experimental results and the thermodynamic modelling to determine not just the consumables used, but also the working environment needed for the vat to operate, allowing an understanding of the limitations to dyeing and to workers. Issues of practicality such as storage of consumables and disposal of exhaust gases may now be thoroughly examined.\ud 2\ud Eventually it will be possible to determine the operating parameters of each of the dye vats, the quantities of consumables involved and the amount that could be produced. This should help answer the question as to the significance of the dye industry in Pompeii to the local economy

Topics: Heat transfer, Reconstruction, Dye vat, Pompeii, Economy
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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