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Roman mortars from a mausoleum (named D46b) belonging to the archaeological site of Porta Mediana
necropolis, in Cuma (Naples, Southern Italy) have been studied by means of petrographic, mineralogical and
micro-chemical analyses. The aim of this research is to fill the knowledge gap regarding mortar-based
materials used in Roman age within this wide archaeological site.
Two typologies of mortars (bedding and coating) were collected from mausoleum’s masonry. They were
lime-based with addition of pozzolanic materials, according to Vitruvius’ recipe.
Raw materials, such as volcanic sand and limestones, mainly from local sources, were preferentially used as
aggregate, both for great availability and good properties.
As regard production techniques, the multi-layer feature of the coating mortars, once again shows the great
knowledge of the building art. Each layer is the result of a precise choice, as shown by the differences both in
texture and petrographic features.
Data from detailed mortars characterization have infer the outstanding skill of Roman craftsmen, as already
proved by extraordinary durability of buildings.
The research was very useful not only to increase the knowledge of this ancient culture but also to planning
conservative actions, that, through mortar reproduction or the research of suitable materials, can promote
the safeguard of this invaluable heritage.