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Research projects

The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stone Carving & Carvers in the Roman World

The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stone Carving and Carvers in the Roman World is a two-year project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£209,834) starting in July 2011. The Principle Investigator is Dr Will Wootton (Department of Classics), the Co-Investigator John  Bradley (Department of Digital Humanities), and there are two researchers, Dr Ben Russell on the Classical aspects and Dr Michele Pasin on the digital. The project develops an innovative approach to Roman sculpture by interpreting carving techniques through the lens of practical craft expertise. It will build a web resource around an unpublished photographic collection assembled by Peter Rockwell, a sculptor and expert on stone carving.

The project is concerned with the relationship between mark and tool but, as importantly, with the sequence in which the marks were made. The photographs will be published online – www.artofmaking.ac.uk – with links between the surviving marks on the worked stone and the type of tool that made them. These will be viewed in the sequence that they were produced in order to enhance our understanding of sculptural process and investigate the relationship between the surviving objects and their makers; videos of stone carving will be included to bring the physicality of these processes to life.

The Art of Making goes beyond conventional archival projects by integrating an expert analytical commentary on the objects based on applied knowledge of creating and new synthetic studies which respond to and expand on the collected data. The project constitutes a different approach to most studies which group tools separately, thus failing to show how they might be used in the course of a single piece of work. This attention to process can be extended yet further by including the photographs of quarry sites, thus visualizing the actions from material acquisition to the completed object.

The web application will be hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London, which has committed to keeping the resource available online once the project is complete.

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