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Nature Of The Materials And The Craftsmanship Of Late Roman Ivory, Bone, And Wood

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the objects made of ivory, bone, and wood. It presents a brief summary of the nature of these materials and of the tools and methods with which they were worked in the Roman period. Bone is most easily worked green, before it dries out, normally within a period of seventy-two hours. Older bone can be sawn, but partial decalcification is required to produce extremely thin plaques, incised decoration, or veneers that can be shaped to cover curved surfaces. Perhaps for this reason, bone workshops for the production of mundane objects were local, quite ubiquitous, and most of their workers, whether resident or itinerant, must have produced objects only of bone. Craftsmen making high quality inlays for furniture were probably settled near a steady supply of material, although not necessarily at the same location where the animals were either slaughtered or butchered.

Keywords: bone; craftsmen; furniture; ivory; mundane objects; Roman period; wood



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