The development of binder technology in the past will be briefly reviewed, with focus on the use of binders and mortars in structural architecture and their technological meaning. The traditional recipes of Roman mortars from literature sources will be compared with the results of the characterization of ancient materials from selected case studies, and open problems will be highlighted. The recent attempts to radiocarbon dating ancient mortars will also be presented. The aim is to show what the investigation of ancient materials can tell us not only on past technological developments and on conservation issues, but also on the future of modern cements.
Gilberto Artioli is a professor of mineralogy and crystallography at the University of Padova (Italy). He received his Laurea Degree from the University of Modena (Italy) and his PhD from the University of Chicago (USA). Artioli’s interests focus on mineralogy and industrial materials, with scientific expertise in the use of combined techniques, including those based at large-scale facilities, to investigate complex materials. He is the Director of the Research Centre for the Investigation of Cement Materials (CIRCe) in Padova and is Chair of the International Union of Crystallography’s Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage.