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Authors: Jackson, M.*
Deocampo, D.*
Marra, F.*
Title: Mid-Pleistocene Pozzolanic Volcanic Ash in Ancient Roman Concretes
Title of journal: Geoarchaeology
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Issue Date: 2009
Keywords: pozzolanic mortars, ancient Rome, volcanic ash, paleopedology, materials research
Abstract: The hydrated lime-volcanic ash mortars of imperial age concrete construction in Rome owe their extraordinary durability to a specific alteration facies of scoriaceous ash from the Pozzolane Rosse ignimbrite, erupted at 456±3 ka from Alban Hills volcano. Stratigraphic, petrographic, and chemical investigations demonstrate that during the warm, humid period preceding marine isotope stage 11, hydrolytic pedogenesis produced an argillic horizon in Pozzolane Rosse, with thick illuvial clay that had little reactivity with hydrated lime, as shown by mortars from the Forum of Julius Caesar (46 to 44 BC). In the underlying soil horizon, however, translocated halloysite overlies opal and poorly crystalline clay surface coatings. Imperial age mortars, as from the Forum and Markets of Trajan (AD 96 to 115), show strong reactivity of these components, altered scoria groundmass, and zeolites with hydrated lime. Romans deliberately selected this alkali-rich ash for optimal performance of pozzolanic concretes.
Appears in Collections:04.08.99. General or miscellaneous
Papers Published / Papers in press

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