12 January 2008

Roman blocks

Opus reticulatum

That name sounds like some medical term you never want to hear your doctor utter but actually refers to a type of Roman wall.

All over Italy there are ruins from previous civilizations and some of the most prominent, and well known, are those of the Romans. The Romans developed or improved upon such things as concrete and the arch which they used extensively in building their empire. A particular wall style that we see here in Ascoli Piceno and was common throughout the empire for several centuries is called the opus reticulatum. Rete is Latin for net and this wall style resembles a net pattern.

The walls were made with a concrete center and the small stone pyramids were set into the concrete, pointed end in, and the square face piece would then face out. The combination of these stones would create a diamond pattern, which was usually then covered with plaster. The stones, usually cut from tuff, are about 4 inches square on the facing and 8 to 10 inches long.

This particular wall section and stone is at Villa Adriana outside of Rome.

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