Archaeometric study of bricks from the ancient defence walls around the town of Pavia in northern Italy


  • M. Setti Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pavia (Italia).
  • C. Nicola Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pavia (Italia).
  • A. López-Galindo Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra – CSIC, University of Granada (España).
  • S. Lodola Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pavia (Italia).
  • C. Maccabruni Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità, University of Pavia (Italia).
  • F. Veniale Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pavia (Italia).



bricks, Roman Spanish walls, Pavia, colour, chemical composition


A study was conducted on bricks sampled from the defense walls around the historic town of Pavia (northern Italy) erected during Roman (uncertain) and “Spanish”(sixteenth-seventeenth centuries) times.

An analysis of colour, macro- and micro-chemical composition,mineralogical clusters and structural-textural features showed that similar raw materials were used in the manufacture of these bricks, although certain variations were identified: particle size is finer in Roman bricks, while the “Spanish” version contains ground carbonate and “chamotte” additives. The “Spanish” bricks,fired at lower temperatures, are more porous. The wide range of firing temperatures used to make “Spanish” bricks was very likely related to the intended use. The sporadic presence of maghemite is discussed in the context of the atmosphere prevailing in the kilns. The “Spanish” bricks are lighter in colour as a result of their carbonate content and lower firing temperature. These characteristics, which affect the weather resistance of the different types of brick, should be taken into account in restoration work.


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Author Biography

C. Nicola, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pavia (Italia).

Present address: Dipartimento scienze della Terra, University of Milan (Italia).


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How to Cite

Setti, M., Nicola, C., López-Galindo, A., Lodola, S., Maccabruni, C., & Veniale, F. (2006). Archaeometric study of bricks from the ancient defence walls around the town of Pavia in northern Italy. Materiales De Construcción, 56(283), 5–23.



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