Academic thesis

Brigitta Hofer: About the Wall Painting and Stucco Decoration of a Nabatean Mainsion of ez Zantur IV in Petra / Jordan Back
Language: Original   -   Translation
Abstract: The Nabatean mansion of ez Zantur IV in Petra / Jordan (dated to the last quarter of the 1st century AD), is an excavation project of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Basel and was discovered during the last 6 years. At the same time not only impressive wall paintings appeared "in situ", but also a considerable amount of painted plaster and stucco fragments as well as cornices and profiled stucco mouldings. For the technical investigation of materials and techniques used for the plaster layers and the coloured painting, two rooms were chosen from different living quarters within the house. From the fragments found there, suitable samples were taken for analysis.
X-ray-diffraction (XRD) and the evaluation of thin sections have performed analyses of plaster. The pigments had been determined by their microscopic and optical polarisation characteristics, coupled with analyses by scanning electron microscopy with X-ray spectrometry (SEM/EDS). The binding materials of the paint layers were researched using a micro chemical process; the stucco was tested for additives containing protein with the aid of ion-exchange-chromatography.
15 different compositions of mortar had been discovered; in this instance gypsum played an important role for the plasters in room 17. The pigments used were dependent on the top layer of the plasters, so for the fresco painting the palate of pigments consisted of lime, earth pigments and charcoal. Secco paintings on gypsum plaster contained in addition artificially created pigments such as red lead, coloured varnishes and Egyptian Blue. In total 7 different pigments and the materials of gilding could be analysed.
The comparison of the interior decoration of the two rooms involved looking at all aspects of materials and techniques used. This demonstrated that each room showed working methods of high standard, which have no equal with the exception of the building of the walls. Nevertheless it seems safe to presume that both rooms are dating from the same period.


  • academic institution: Technische Universität München
  • kind of theses:  Diplomarbeit
  • date:  2003
Posterpräsentation vorhanden (Din A0)

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