Roman mosaic reconstruction, Butser Roman Villa, Hampshire, UK.
The team here are recreating a Roman mosaic in one of the rooms at the villa reconstruction there. There are using marble and setting the mosaic direct onto the floor rather than using the modern Reverse method. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a mosaic floor, following geometric patterns has been done insitu. This is a world away from working in sections on tables.
What I feel we can learn from watching this teams progress is just phenomenal. You have workers with little experience or training at straight away you see how quickly the skills are being picked up.
One thing that has really struck me is how important the 'Calcis coctor' or mortar worker is. It is literally and figuratively the one job that holds this all together. There are two things here;
1. The mix needs to be correct to ensure the mosaic is structurally sound, get it wrong and it will just crack and fall apart.
2. The mix needs to be of just the right consistency to allow the tesserae to be set in good time. Too loose and they will literally sink. Too heavy a mix and the tesserae won't bed in.
Having the mortar prepared correctly directly affects the mosaicsts speed of work and I have revised my opinion of just how important this job would have been.
You can follow their progress in the blog, https://butservillamosaic.wordpress.com/