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Contemporary writers on tools found

Grinding/polishing stone

1. Glassman, G. (2007). Restoring the Parthenon. Available: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/parthenon/rest-nf.html Last accessed 3rd October 2014.

'To level a new surface, the team's masons again turn to an age-old technique. They sprinkle sand onto the surface, then use a metal smoothing plate to work out imperfections. The plate is an ancient invention, its modern counterpart based on stone plates found on the Acropolis. Korres believes that those early plates could grind to a precision of one-twentieth of a millimeter'.

parthenon grinding block This drawing is my own of the modern one shown in use.

Tools found

1. BBC. (2014). The Story of the Roman Empire. [Online Video]. 18 April 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h61BZ-O9Wuo(go to 21:53) 

The link above takes you through to a BBC documentry on the Roman Empire (on Youtube). In one section, on tools found in a quarry, one of the hammer heads looks the closest i've seen to a type that could be used to cut tesserae in the same way we work now. All the other hammers I've seen found in stoneworking sites have been what's known as scabbing hammers, pointed at both ends. Look at the hammer which is the third one away from the camera, although it has a normal, blunt end it does have a flat end too. 

There are two arguements against this though;

1. Would they have been cutting tesserae in one of the quarries or waiting to get the material from building sites/sculptures workshops?

2. The quarry there is Carrara, white marble whereas I've always been told that an off white (ie Botticino) is used in mosaic work as pure white has a very 'flat' look to it whereas something like Botticino, with its different shades ahs more depth. Something to look into.