Monday, 16 March 2009

Archaeology of light

Returning to Jo´s proposal for an AIA session on the archaeology of the night (21.12.08).... I have not came across studies focusing solely on the artificial lighting of Pompeian spaces but Henrk Boman (White Light - White Heat, Current Swedish Archaeology 13/2005) has looked at some ways to enhance lighting conditions in insula V 1, as well as used Jo´s work (1997) as a reference to the use (amount) of articifical light in some commercial establishments. As far as I know he is also planning to continue with modelling lighting conditions in atrium-houses. Furthermore, our Finnish team has been hoping to do some modelling on the circulation of light in some rooms with multiple windows (and wall paintings): it there a play of light here? Would be great to hear more on this topic! It seems to me that insula IX, 3 for instance had at the end very few lamps....


Jo Berry said...

Shelley Hales has just pointed out to me that Kate Devlin at Goldsmiths has been working on recreations of painted interiors in lamp light. Something else to look up!

David Griffiths said...

I am currently studying the ceramic oil lamps from the AAPP excavations in insula VI.1 and now have stratified assemblages from all the properties. I am due to start a PhD at the University of Leicester in October with Dr. Pim Allison and Prof. David Mattingly, with a focus on the social and economic impact of artificial light in the Roman world. The aim of this study is to assess the social and economic significance of the consumption of artificial light, testing the hypothesis that a reliable and affordable supply of fuel and lighting equipment was a major constituent in Roman urban living. Pompeii will be the main case study for this research.

The study has three main objectives:

1) Assess the underlying socio-cultural reasoning for lengthening the day.
2) Identify the extent to which vibrant and diverse ‘after-dark’ economic activities contributed to urban growth.
3) Estimate the scale of olive oil consumption for artificial light.

I would be very grateful for any contributions to my research, and if anyone has any ceramic oil lamp assemblages from pre- AD79 stratified contexts, or any architectural data which would be helfpful, I would like to hear from you. I will be working in Pompeii for most of July this year.
David Griffiths

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