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Variations in sizes, shapes, materials and colours of mosaic tesserae in Southeastern Anatolia Region

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2016
Tanrıverdi, Yaprak
The aim of this research was to quantify ancient mosaics by their shape, size, material and colours. The study made an attempt to classify the various shapes and sizes of the tesserae used in ancient mosaics, which would help identifying and documenting the subject domain. Investigating tesserae colors was both for drawing attention to types of material used in ancient mosaics and first step for proposing a color catalog of Anatolia, one of the most important mosaic centers of world. Commagene Region in Southeast Anatolia was selected for case study as it hosts Zeugma-Belkıs mosaics is close to Antioch mosaics, and the region is accoutered with archeometrical artifacts. Information on Commagene Region mosaics from Arsameia, Samosata, Perrhe, Bahasna and Zeugma settlements, in literature was gathered in order to propose an identification catalog for each mosaic. Following this, mosaics from Adıyaman and Zeugma Mosaic Museums were investigated in detail, they were photographed and distinguished colors were detected with Konika Minolta Chroma meter. Tesserae sizes were measured from taken photographs and shapes were drawn in computer with Coreldraw. According to data obtained tesserae shapes were classified into seven groups, namely; square, rectangle, trapezoid, parallelogram, triangle, amorphous and definitive piece which was roundel shapes used for specific delineations such as eyeballs. A small color chip was prepared for each measured tesserae and presented in catalog of related mosaics. Mosaics from Arsameia and Bahasna were not attainable in the Adıyaman museum therefore tesserae traits and color measurements was conducted on Samosata, Perrhe and Zeugma mosaics. According to results meander was the common motif used in all settlements. Commagene Region mosaics mostly contained tesserae from yellow (Y) and yellow-red (YR) pages of Munsell Soil Color chart. Green and blue pages had few chips which explain the reason for use of smalti in the region. Mastery was indicated with tesserae size and tesserae density in Samosata and with color use and tesserae density in Zeugma and Perrhe. In addition six samples such as pinkish white and grey colored carbonatic rocks and unique colored ones such as blue, red and green from Perrhe was minerologically analyzed with X-ray diffraction (XRD), which revealed carbonatic rocks were calcite and blue, red and green tesserae were glassy structures.