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Richard Hodges, Karen Francis and Sarah Leppard


he construction of San Vincenzo Maggiore was a massive technical operation. Although

columns and other structural and sculptural elements could be obtained from the sites of derelict
Roman buildings located within San Vincenzo's considerable terra (cf. Castellani 2000), many
aspects of the fitting out of the new and restructured buildings had to be provided for on site. Con
sequently, whilst the building work extended slowly eastwards from the apsidal end of the Basilica,
the area destined to lie below the Atrium was utilized as a series ofTemporary Workshops and later, as
the work neared completion, as a builders' yard complete with an animal-driven mortar-mixer
(Fig. 5. 1 ). The Temporary Workshops complex consisted of a sequence of distinct artisanal activities
involving skilled craftsmen (and perhaps some monks). Specifically these involved the manufacture
of specialist materials and fittings required for the new church and perhaps associated buildings
(Fig. 5.2).
The exceptionally rich archaeology within the Temporary Workshops showed that there were at
least four distinct phases of industriai production in the form of tile-making, copper-smelting,
glass-working and bell-casting. At the end of each phase, once the required quota of materials had
been produced, the activities and their associated furnaces were replaced by new ones directly
above the destruction levels. Ultimately, the area in question was levelled and enclosed, first by
the walls of the Atrium, probably built during Abbot Joshua's period in o:ffice (792-817), and later
by the Eastwork, constructed soon after by either Abbots Talaricus or Epyphanius (or both).
This unique archaeological sequence was represented by a depth in some places of over 3.5 m of
stratigraphy, only partially excavated due to the extant ninth-century buildings. These workshops,
episodically active for, almost certainly, relatively short periods of time, have been distinguished
from the first and second Collective Workshops constructed to the south of the Atrium (Chapter
6). The Collective Workshops appear to have been designed as a functioning and ongoing sector
of the monastery, and such was their perceived importance that they were connected to the claustrum
by a vaulted corridor beneath the phase 5 Atrium. Francesco D'Angelo and Federico Marazzi (2006)
have argued that the glass-making in the Temporary and Collective Workshops formed two parts of
the same operation. Their argument is intended to develop the thesis that the Atrium of San Vincenzo
Maggiore was first built in the eleventh century (D'Angelo and Marazzi 2006: 452; Marazzi 2006a).
This, as we have argued in Chapter 4, is simply not the case. Nor, indeed, does the complex
archaeology sustain their thesis that the two different sectors for glass-making belong to the same
operation. Instead, as will be apparent, the glass-maker was active for a brief period in theTemporary
Workshops, whereupon, perhaps, he moved his operations to Room C in the Collective Workshops.
The Temporary Workshops discussed in this chapter are those that were found in the excavations
within the area of the subsequent vaulted corridor (that is, under the Atrium) and beneath the
Eastwork, and that precede the phase 5 Collective Workshops to the south of the Atrium (cf.
Chapter 6).
The archaeology can be summarized as is shown in Table S.I.



The excavations within the area of the builders' yard show that craftsmen and builders inevitably
occupied a huge part of the monastic complex during the construction of San Vincenzo Maggiore.

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FIG . 5.2. Excavating the Temporary

Workshops below the later vaulted
corridor of the Eastwork. (IWA)



The tile-kiln

B. The copper-alloy workshop


C. The glass workshop

D. The bell foundry

Excavations carried out in 1995 and 1996, to the south of

the present Atrium, revealed an extension to the existing
complex in the fonn of a range of clay-bonded buildings
and yards. These buildings have proved puzzling
because they took a different alignment and were
constructed differently from all the other structures
associated with the Temporary Workshops as well as
the Collective Workshops. However, to complicate
matters further, a part of the originai structure remained
in use throughout the ninth century, fonning part of the
first and second Collective Workshops.
TABLE 5. l .

The construction sequences related to the

Temporary Workshops.

Construction work attributable to

this period

Phase 3c/4a l

Pis buildings south of San Vincenzo


Phase 4a l

Kiln for tile production

Phases 4a2/3

Two phases of meta! production

Phase 4a4

Glass-maker's house and associated


Phase 4a5

Bell-making pit/foundry

Phase 4a6

Mortar-mixer for constructing the


Phase 4a7

Construction of the frst Atrium


Excavated in

1 99 1


Excavated by Suor Orsola Benincasa

Area of the
builders' yard

E. The builders' yard and mortar-mixer

FiG. 5. l. The Temporary Workshops and the builders' yard situated below the later Atrium and Eastwork of San
Vincenzo Maggiore. (SL)

As these buildings were constructed on the natural

clay, it appears probable that they belong to the earliest
occupation in this sector of San Vincenzo. More
importantly, their alignment, being roughly west-south
west-east-northeast, is strikingly similar to the angled
alignment of the monastic claustrum. The east side of
the originai complex appears to have been found
below Room C of the second Collective Workshops.
This would seem to confinn that its alignment was
established either in phase 3c (Hodges 1995a: xiv,
table O: l ) or early in phase 4a, with the construction
of the axial Upper Thoroughfare, but before the
construction of San Vincenzo Maggiore on a different
and new alignment (see Chapter l , p. 6). So to which
phase do these buildings belong? Presently we cannot
be sure. Certainly the buildings should pre-date the
Basilica, which took another alignment. So it might
be that they represent a southem sector of San Vincenzo
before the Basilica of San Vincenzo Maggiore was
constructed (cf. Marazzi 2008: figs 6-7). If so, this
would mean that the phase 3c monastery was larger
than has been believed previously. More convincingly,
the buildings may have been erected at the south end of
the notional line of the Upper Thoroughfare once the
project to enlarge the monastic ranges had begun, and
before the project to build San Vincenzo Maggiore
At first, at least two structures were built (Fig. 5.3)
(probably before the Temporary Workshops occupying
the Atrium area existed), with one further structure

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Si e of Sa 1 ' incenzo Maggiore



- -

, _-





- -


- - - - - - 1r-_-_ 5406

-_ -_ -_

l l







-- JI
-- -- -- ..
3 330
- .:::::::::::



---- --
- --==::: --- J l
- -J
3 3 30

l l



_- : :


B asilica under construction

FIG . 5.4. The additional room added to the pis buildings and the new alignment with the Temporary
Workshops. (SL)

FIG. 5.3. The phase 3c/4a l pis buildings and their relationship with the axial line of construction of the
monastic complex. (SL)

added on the east end, probably during phase 4a6- the

period of the builders' yard and the construction of
the first phase Atrium. These buildings were later
remodelled to form part of the first Collective Work
shops (see Chapter 6). The Suor Orsola Benincasa
mission has identified a possible extension further
west (Marazzi 2008: fig. 6 (OG, OH), fig. 42); these
rooms are not described here.
The first complex measured about 28 m in length and
comprised two rooms, running west to east. The
western room measured 14 x 9 m; the eastern room
measured c. 11 x 9.5 m. The evidence for these build
ings was strongest in the western room, whose southern
(3208) and eastern (3228) walls were both rather poorly
built of rough travertine blocks and tile fragments with
occasionai limestone fragments, bonded with yellow


l l

t:' p











_- _









1 33


Axial line of the
Upper Thoroughfare l

---_-:_ -_-_ -_-_


clay. The northern walls (3237, 3149) also were built

from travertine blocks and bonded with yellow clay.
Wall 3237 was bonded to the northern end of wall
3228. The doorway in the northern wall would have
been roughly centrai to the room. The western extent
of this large room is represented by wall 3191. The
relationship between this western wall and the northern
wall (3149) was concealed beneath the later ninth
century buttress (10061) (see Chapter 2, p. 47).
The eastern room was represented clearly by its
western and southern walls only, the latter being a
continuation of wall 3208 to the east (and uncovered
in the area of later Room D). Wall 3330, running
east-west, was visible for just over 12 m, and was
then obscured by a later partition wall (4305).
However, excavations beneath the level of this later

wall revealed a quoin-stone that may represent the turn

of the early wall to the north. Further excavations to the
east (in the area of later Room C) showed a possible
structure, of similar build to wall 3330, in the south
section. No other evidence was found of any similar
walls further to the east, to indicate the initial extent
of the pis buildings beneath the later Room C.
The first complex was enlarged in a second phase
when a third room, measuring approximately l O m
square, was adcfed to the east of the earlier two rooms
but on a different alignment (Fig. 5.4). The evidence
for this new room was a small part of its north wall
(5144), mostly removed by a robber cut (5129), and a
small part of its east wall (5406), that was later built
over by wall 4722 of the Collective Workshops
Room B. These walls appear to create the northeast
corner of this new phase 3c/4a room. Its new alignment,
which follows the line of San Vincenzo Maggiore, may
suggest that it was built with the new Basilica and

Atrium in mind. Noticeably, north-south wall 5406

- now the eastern wall of these workshops- tellingly
aligns with the north-south pilastered faade of the first
The occupation levels associated with this phase of
building were not reached in ali areas of the excavation.
In the west end the natura! clay (3201) was reached
only to the south of the pis building; within the
rooms the lowest level of excavation was associated
with the next phase of occupation. In the excavation
within the later Room D of the Collective Workshops,
however, a floor surface (3366) was uncovered
(Chapter 6, p. 178). This surface of limestone and
clay was found only to the north of clay-bonded wall
3330. The excavations to the east revealed severa!
clay levelling deposits (5359, 5341, 5392), which
covered the generai eastern area before the later walls
were constructed. These clay deposits contained glass
waste, showing how the deposits cleaned out of the

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1 35

Wall 5244



- ---:_ -- _- -

- -



- -


' '
' '





- - -- --- -- --- --


Atrium under construction

The pis buildings in phase 4a6 with the builders' yard and San Vincenzo Maggiore under
construction. (SL)
FIG. 5.5.

glass workshop to the north were used here to raise the

level of the ground. In the area just to the north of the
pis buildings two mortar surfaces were uncovered
that can be associated with this phase. In the area
north of what later became Room C of the Collective
Workshops, a white mortar spread (3323) was laid.
This thin surface was made of poor-quality mortar,
the brown clay natural being visible below it. This
surface also underlay the threshold of the later room.
The second mortar surface (5158) was located less
than l O m to the east of this one and was a hard
yellow mortar level. This surface ran below the walls
(5649, 4931) in this area, which were constructed
later, with the new alignment of the buildings in this
area, during the construction of the phase 4 Atrium.
After the Temporary Workshops were demolished
and the builders' yard was functioning for the building
of the first Atrium, these pis buildings were slightly
re-formed and extended (Fig. 5.5). The western room



' '
' '




was divided into two rooms by the insertion of a wall

(3091). This wall, measuring just over 8 m in length,
was constructed from limestone boulders, rather than
the usual travertine, and bonded with a poor-quality
clay mortar. This narrow wall would not have been
suitable for heavy load-bearing and it was inserted
just to the east of the main doorway, creating a western
room measuring 7.5 m wide and a smaller eastern room
measuring just less than 6 m wide. The wall stopped
l m from the south wall (3208), creating a doorway
between the two rooms. It appears another doorway
was created in the northem wall (3237), allowing
access from the north. The two rooms created by the
inserti an of this dividing wall may have had a thatched
roof supported by a centrai post in each room;
represented in the western room by pit 3203 and in
the smaller eastem room by pit 3295 (cf. Chapter 6,
p. 182). The pit in the western room cut through a
sterile clay deposit (3216), which may have been a

FIG. 5.6.

The remains of the Tile Workshops. (SL)

beaten earth surface in this phase; the surface in the

smaller eastern room (3301) appeared to be a slightly
more defined surface of mortary clay. To the south of
the western room the brown clay deposit continued as
320 l ; this was cut by a line of three large post-holes,
positioned 3.4 m south of wall 3208. The two outer
post-holes (3198, 3196) were both 0.25 m square,
while the centrai post-hole (3189) was slightly larger,
at 0.3 m square. The two post-holes that were excavated
showed they were very deep, between 0.70 m and
0.99 m, suggesting that they held substantial posts.
These J:?.OSt-holes possibly held posts for a modest
timber-framed porch on the south side of the pis
The fragmentary and complicated archaeology pre
vents any definitive interpretation of the chronology and
early history of this building. The alignment of the earliest
buildings suggests that they were conceived well before
the construction of the church. The addition of the third,
eastem, room appears to suggest a realignment of the

complex and its continued use as the building of the

Basilica and Atrium proceeded (see Chapter 6,
pp. 157-61). The function of these buildings cannot
be ascertained with certainty. The presence of a porch
added to the west room may suppose it had some
status. Were one or more of these three rooms desig
nated as accommodation for the itinerant artisans, for
example? Others, given the absence of industriai
activity, may have served as storerooms for tools,
building materials and finished products. Either way,
their retention to be partly incorporated into the ninth
century first and second Collective Workshops, while
convenient, also suggests that a certain importance or
memory may have been attached to these buildings.

The initial phase of industriai activity was represented

by a large kiln complex discovered within the lowest
levels below the Eastwork (Figs 5. 1 and 5.6). Aligned

1 36



FIG. 5.7.

View of the tile-kiln looking west. (IWA)

to the front of San Vincenzo Maggiore, it clearly

belongs to the era in which the new Basilica was
being built. Here, hundreds of terracotta roof- and
floor-tiles were made in preparation for the new
monastic buildings (Fig. 5.7). The confines of the Tile
Workshop are not known, although two structures
partially excavated below the standing walls of the
Eastwork encompass an area of over 20 m2 and may
well represent different parts of the same furnace (cf.
Moran 2000). This tile-kiln was excavated under two
area codes, FF/G in 1991 and FF/H in 1992. The FF/
G excavations uncovered three parallel walls (5500,
5501, 5770), each measuring 0.55 m wide, 0.4-0.7 m
in height, and nearly 2 m long, which ran north into
the trench edge. The 1992 season uncovered the full

structure, which continued north into area

FF/H, running under the phase 5 Eastwork
wall (5244). The full visible kiln structure
measured 5 x 3.5 m, and comprised the three
parallel walls, measuring a final 5 m in
length, built from fragments of Roman dolia
and of Roman and early medieval tiles
bonded with clay. These three walls repre
sented two parallel flues, each 0.9 m wide,
aligned north-south. The flues ended squarely
at the north end with a cross-wall (5641) built
of the same materia!, showing clearly that the
kiln had. been fired from the south. The kiln
walls had been cut into the clay levelling
layers (in FF/H: 5524, 5538, 5707; in FF/G:
5651, 5662). These may represent the alluvial
clays imported to terrace the whole area for the
construction of the main church. The walls
also were built on a thick foundation deposit
of clay mixed with brick and tile fragments
(5642). This was about 0.3 m deep and had
been burnt to a deep red by the firing of the
kiln. A stone and mortar surface (5652)
formed the floor level inside the two flues,
along which the hot air would have travelled
from the mouth of the furnace. W hile the
kiln was in use, the freshly-made tiles would
have been stacked vertically upon a tile plat
form that was situated directly above the
flues. Holes within the platform, evident
from tile fragments contained within the
demolition rubble, allowed the heat to pass
from the flues to the tiles during firing. On
the present evidence, the structure may be
reconstructed to resemble a rectangular tile
kiln (Fig. 5.8).
The remains of an almost identica! structure were
partially uncovered within an eleventh-century work
shop situated on the east bank of the river, in the
grounds of the New Abbey (Bowden and Gruber
2006: 163-5, fig. 5.25). In total, four kiln structures
were excavated within the 20 m long workshop there.
The structure resembling the Temporary Workshops
kiln was located in the southwest corner of the
complex, dose to a bottle-shaped pottery kiln. The
kiln, 2.4 m wide and at least 4 m in length, comprised
at least one flue channel of the same dimensions as
the examples described above. The three principal
walls that made up the flues were constructed of tiles
and lirnestone, bonded with clay. The flue channels of
both examples survived to a height of 0.9 m, although



Reconstruction of a rectangular tile-kiln. (After Le Ny

l 988: fg. 23)

FIG. 5.8.

1 37

of the kiln on the north side six large tiles were un

covered, presumably forming the kiln floor. The area
between the two kilns remains hidden beneath the
supporting wall of the ninth-century Eastwork. Con
sequently, it is not possible to deterrnine whether the
two structures represented separate, but broadly
contemporary, kilns or, alternatively, the flues and
firing chamber of a single L- or T-shaped kiln.
The tile furniture retrieved from the core of this kiln
was all made from fabric B, the predominant fabric of
the two employed in the production of tiles at the
monastery during phase 4 (Patterson and Coutts
2001). Intriguingly, though, associated with this kiln
were fragments of Roman tegulae, with arched flanges
and in a fabric that had small white inclusions,
suggesting spoil from nearby robbed buildings.
In sum, theTemporary Workshops tile-kiln is clearly
of a Roman type (cf. Le Ny 1988: type II E) that, as
Lucia Tonezzer (2002: 104) has shown, was used
throughout western Europe in the high and later
Middle Ages.

the deposits that had been used to fill them differed

considerably. In contrast to the ninth-century kiln
below the Eastwork, which contained a series of
burnt clay and mortar layers, the eleventh-century
kiln had been filled with mixed clay and ash deposits
- although both structures contained large quantities
of burnt tile and charcoal. The tile-kiln at the New
Abbey appears to have been in operation for only a
short time, probably during the late eleventh or early
After tile production had ceased, it appears the flues of the
twelfth century.
main kiln were used for mixing mortar before the vaults
Returning to the Temporary Workshops, the second
and walls were demolished. A mortary-consolidated
kiln structure (5871) found within the Tile Workshop
deposit (5626/5645) was found at the base of the two
lay immediately southwest of the large kiln with the
flues, at a thickness of 0.3 m. This may be from the
parallel flues, although it extended transversely to it,
construction of wall 5694, which appears to be the
aligned east-west (Figs 5. 1 and 5.6). This kiln was
built within a construction cut (5869) that
cut into the alluvial clay (5883). This is
equal to the . earliest levelling clays in FF/G
and FF/H, into which the large tile-kiln was
cut, putting both kilns into the earliest phase
Cut 5869
of activity in this area. This kiln was built
into the base of the cut, with the tiles of its
construction being set into the alluvial clay
as well as being bonded with it. The excavated
structure comprised approximately half of a
fan-shaped wall (5871),'running east to west,
remaining to 0.6 m in height, with a considerable overhang in the centre but nearly vertical
at the ends, suggesting a centrai vaulted
chamber, originally 2 m wide. The walls of
the kiln were built of alternating courses of
specially-made cylindrical and rectangular
bricks, bonded with clay (Fig. 5.9). These
bricks were heavily burnt and are of a type
FIG. 5. 9. East-facing elevation of the tile-kiln wall (587 1 ) showing the cylindrical
bricks. (SL)
otherwise unknown on the site. At the base

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1 39

FIG. 5.11. Excavating the copper

alloy-kilns and related features.


FIG. 5.1 O.






The Copper-alloy Workshop. (KFISL)

northern wall relating to the next phase of production in

this area: the Copper-alloy Workshop (Figs 5. 1 and 5. 1 0).
Above this consolidated deposit lay a series of demolition
dumps infi lling the fi ues: 5586 was the main demolition
of the walls and vaul ts, with tiles, bri cks and day to a
depth of 0.6 m. In this deposit signi:fi cant amounts of
fired day were recovered along with many broken tiles.
Above this were two mixed day and mortar levelling
deposits (5584, 5580). Across the whole area of the
Tile Workshop an orange-brown sandy day levelling
layer was laid (588 1/5825) to prepare the area for the
next activity. This was the second phase of industriai
pr oduction here (Fig. 5. 1 l).
The Copper-alloy Workshop, containing a complex
sequence ofhearth structures and pits, was built directly
over the remains ofthe tile-kilns. The workshop dearly
precedes the construction of the Eastwork: several
copper-working hearths and storage pits were truncated
by the construction of the main supporting wall (46 1 0)
of the Eastwork at a later date. Although the confines of
the workshop are at present unknown, it seems to have
covered an area of approximately 40 m. O nly the north
wali of the workshop (5 8 14) has been identified. This
wall, aligned slightly off the east-west direction of

the main Basilica, was constructed directly above the

fan-shaped tile-kiln (5871), and survived to a height
of O .42 m. It was of rough construction, made of lime
stone rubble, bonded with a white soft mortar, similar to
the mortar deposit left in the fiues of the tile-kiln. The
workshop fi oor was made up of trampled day and sand.
Two ofthe features associated with the Copper-alloy
Workshop appear to relate to the earliest phase of its
use. A small, square kiln (5934), less than l .O m in
width and length though surviving to 0.66 m in
height, was found in the southern half ofthe workshop.
It was a skilful construction of roof-tiles laid horizon
tally, bonded with day (Fig. 5. 1 2). This kiln was cut
deep into the levelling days. The fi oor of th e kiln
was formed by one large rectangular tile measuring
0.36 x 0.48 m, with two smaller tiles filling in the
gaps. At the base of the kiln was a mixture of charcoal
and fine white sand (5937/5936), which probably
represents the remains of the final fir ing episode. The
fili suggested that the kiln may have been used for
the reduction of copper ore, whereby roasted ore is
placed in a kiln along with charcoal and a fi ux such
as sand, used to lower the melting point of the metal.
Similar square kilns associated with the production of

bronze have been excavated at Rocca San Silvestro in

Tuscany (Brunn 1 993; Francovich 1991 : 83) (Fig. 5. 1 3).
The copper-smelting kiln was filled in with one large
demolition deposit (5935), which was full of refractory
material, induding the remains of a smashed siege or
platform, which contained the bowl-shaped impression
of a large crucible with a base diameter of around O . l m.
Handprints made by the builders survive on the outer
edges ofthe siege, together with tile-fi ange impressions
on the underside. These show how the kiln had been

shaped from day and moulded by hand onto a tile

base. Although the day was not analysed, it is likely
that it resembles refractory materials from other
smelting sites, comprising a fairly low-grade material,
gathered locally by the craftsmen building the kiln. In
fact, analysis of crucible fabrics from San Vincenzo
has shown that day was obtained from the area of
Colli a Volturno, some 6 km south of the monastery
(Patterson 1 989; 200 1 a). The siege has not been
reconstructed and consequently it is not possible to
FIG. 5. 12. The square copper
smelting kiln (5934). (IWA)

1 40


activity. A number of features within

the metal workshop were cut into this
clay, showing that there were two distinct
phases here. The principal structures
comprised the ground-level working plat
forms of two kilns, situated 5 m apart.
One of the kilns (5768) had been built
up against the north wall (5814) of the
workshop. The second kiln (5872) was
built just north of the earlier reservoir.
The two kilns were of the same construc
tion type, made of roof-tiles that had been
placed horizontally onto mortar bases.
Kiln 5768 measured over l m square,
while kiln 5872 was slightly smaller.
Both kilns were partially enclosed by
narrow walls built of limestone and
tile, bonded with mortar, probably
representing the remains of the actual
kiln structures (Figs 5. 1 1 and 5. 1 5). The
bases of both kilns contained channels
constructed of tile fragments set verti
FIG. 5.13. Reconstruction of the copper-smelting kilns at Rocca San Silvestro. (After
cally, possibly to form a kind of flue
Daniele de Luco in Froncovich 199 1 : fig. 65)
mechanism or perhaps to direct molten
metal. Deposits of ash, copper-alloy
determine whether it is from the upper part of the kiln in
splashes, slag and crucible were found in association
which it was contained, or from the later demolition of
with the kilns. In particular, the tile platform of the
the Glass Workshops.
The second early feature of the metal workshop was
located 2 m to the west of the kiln discussed above, and
comprised a large, globular, ceramic vessel (SF 1378)
that had been tightly inserted into a specially-dug pit
(5920) in the ground. The sides of the pit were just
wider, 30-60 mm, than the pot. The pit was a slightly
ovai shape, 0.7x0.5 m, and 0.6 m deep - deep
enough for the vessel to sit right inside. A small ceramic
bowl (SF 1379) had been inverted over the vessel to form
a lid (Fig. 5. 1 4). The main vessel was a domestic handled
jar, while the 'lid' was a coarse-ware bowl; the handles of
the jar were broken off and only shown by the scars left at
the widest point of the vessel. The vessel stood approxi
mately 0.3 m high and may have served as a reservoir for
water or other liquid substances associated with the
metalworking process. In his twelfth-century treatise,
De Diversis Artibus, the monk Theophilus described
the use of water or urine as a quenching and hardening
medium for metals (Dodwell l 961: 74-127).
The kiln and reservoir were partially concealed by a
deposit of clay (5881). This appeared to be another
layer of levelling clay, laid to cover the first kiln and reser
FIG. 5. 14. The ceramic reservoir (SF 1 378 and 1 379) found in the
voir pit and prepare the area for the next industriai
Copper-alloy Workshop. (JBB)


FIG. 5.15. The copper-alloy-kiln (5768) showing the narrow walls

enclosing the tile base. (IWA)


stones, clay, copper-alloy lumps and slag. The pits

may have functioned initially as storage bins and later
as waste containers for the workshop. To the west of
these pit features, three identica!, deep post-holes
were uncovered, located together close to the southern
kiln. The northernmost post-hole was the largest of the
three, measuring 0.45 m in diameter and 0.7 m deep,
with almost vertical sides and a flat base. Two smaller
post-holes (5891, 5893) were both about 0.38 m in
diameter and between 0.4 and 0.5 m in depth. As
with the larger post-hole, these both had vertical sides
and flat bases. These post-holes suggest the existence
of a tripod-based structure or mechanism, perhaps a
manually-operated bellow used to fuel the furnace.
Finally, a small metalworking hearth (5881) was
found in the excavations in FF/G, just east of, and
indeed cut by, the later Atrium wall (4610). This
small T-shaped hearth was 0.2 m deep and just less
than l m in length. It was cut into layer 5580, the top
levelling layer above the earlier tile-kiln. It appears to
be contemporary with the copper-working kilns,
though it is outside the main working area. The hearth
contained ash, charcoal and :fragments of copper, and
may represent a second working area, though nothing
more was found within these excavated areas.

southernmost furnace had small pieces of copper alloy

and iron adhering to it.
A complex series of features cutting the clay,
including post-holes, gullies and pits, were associated
with the Copper-alloy Workshop. There were two
shallow rectangular pits cut to the east of kiln 5872;
the first (5895) was 0.97 x 0.87 m in dimension, and
was about 0.1 m deep; it was cut by 5932, the second
rectangular pit, which was slightly smaller, at
0.76x0.60 x 0.1 m. This appeared to be a re-cut of
the originai pit to reuse the feature, though its precise
use is not clear. 'lll.e two pits were filled with the
same fine, multicoloured sand, which appeared to
have been subjected to heat. Small splashes of copper
alloy found within the fili suggest that the sand had
been utilized in the kilns, probably as a flux. Two
large ovai pits (5930, 5964) were cut either side of
the two rectangular pits, and as 5930 just clips the
edge of 5932, it must be slightly later. Both pits
appear to have been similar in size, roughly
0.7x0.9 m, although the full length is unknown as
both are truncated by the later phase 4a7a Atrium
wall (4610). Both contained fine, ashy-sand deposits
with many burnt inclusions, including charcoal,

When copper-working had ceased, the building and its

associated furnaces were demolished to foundation
level and covered with tips of clay and rubble. The
initial demolition of the kilns (5880) was a thick
mixed deposit of sandy clay with large inclusions of
ash, charcoal and bronze droplets. A series of mixed
sandy clay levelling deposits (5820, 5704, 5783)
followed this demolition. A number of copper-alloy
rods, sheets and wires, derived from the Copper-alloy
Workshop, were found within the demolition layers.
This demolition and levelling activity was followed
by two thick clay mortar layers (5787, 5785). These
layers may represent a rudimentary surface for the
next phase of industriai activity. A new workshop,
intended for the large-scale production of glass, was
built directly above the remains of the previous
workshop and on the alignment of the new Basilica
(Figs 5. 1 and 5. 1 6).
The dimensions of the Glass Workshop are
unknown, as it extended below the later Atrium to the
west (cf. Marazzi et al. 2002: plate 18; D'Angelo and
Marazzi 2006). However, the foundations of the north
wall (5694) of the complex have been identified,

1 42



1 43

FIG . 5 . 17 . View of the Glass

Workshop. (!WA)


Robber c ut

Kiln 5711

FIG . 5. 16.



o--- 5694

The Glass Workshop. (KFISL)

close to the remains of the north wall of the Copper

alloy Workshop. This wall remained to 0.42 m in
height and measured 3 .4 m long (though it was trun
cated at both ends by the Atrium walls ), and was
0 .55 m wide. It was a quite rough construction, built
with rubble limestone bonded with soft white mortar;
it was also faced only on the south side, showin g the
direction of its in terior. The wall was built partially
above the northern copper- alloy-kiln, totally destroying
its southern half. Just over 7 m to the south a wide linear
cut was uncovered (58 5 1 ), cutting in to the earlier
copper-alloy-kilns and the demolition layers. This
east-west linear cut was just under 0.9 m wide and
was 0.25 m deep. Its alignment was parallel to that of
wall 5694 and the levelling deposits that covered the
copper- alloy- kilns appeared to continue to the south
of it, showing this wall did not coexist with the
copper-alloy-kilns. This robber cut therefore could
represent the location of the south wall of the Glass
Workshop. A low stone bench (5703) built at a right

angle to the north wall extended along the western

side of the buildin g. This was constructed with lime
stone and travertin e blocks bonded with a pinky
orange sandy mortar. It existed to a height of 0.45 m,
and was 4.5 m in length, although at its south end it
appeared to have been robbed away. This construction
did not appear to be the western wall ofthe Glass Work
shop as the north wall was clearly truncated to the west
by the later phase 5 Atrium wall (4603). It was also of a
different construction type. Two cours es of the wall
existed and showed signs ofbumt tile and clay adhering
to it from where the large main kiln (57 1 1) at one time
extended to this wall. This wall was also partially built
over by one of the glass- kilns (57 1 7), showing that the
height this wall was found at was its originai built
height, and therefore suggesting that it was a work
bench associated with the kiln activity. The eastern
wall of the Glass Workshop may have been removed
for the construction of the phase 4 Atrium wall 46 1 O .
N o wall associated with the Glass Workshop phase

FIG. 5 . 1 8 . The centrai glass furnace (57 1 l ) showing the centrai

fring chamber and connecting ash-pits. (IWA)

was located further east in the excavated area FF/G (in

the later vaulted undercroft), so it can only be presumed
that its location lay where 46 1 O is now. A layer of firm
dark grey clay and mortar (569 1) was found to cover
the area of the workshop; this appeared to be the
working floor associated with the kilns as it had large
amounts of ash and charcoal trampled into the surface.
The Glass Workshop comprised two kilns (Fig. 5. 1 7).
At the junction of the bench and the north wall, in what
may have been the northwest corner of the workshop,
was a semicircular kiln (571 7) constructed of tiles,
which may have had a chimney (cf. D'Angelo and
Marazzi 2006: 449, fig. 3b). O nly the floor- level
hearth survived, measuring 1 .5 x 1 . 1 5 m. The base of
the kil n was constructed with tiles. O n its east side
were two impressions, possibly from tegula ridges,
which probably represent the outer wall structure of
the kil n. Between two existing tiles at the base of the
kiln was a 0.6 m wide space where the mortar was
burnt pink and no impressions of tiles were visible.
This could represent the stoke- hole for the kiln. Ash
de posits found within the centre ofthe hearth contained
glass fr agments, glass waste and copper- alloy slag. The
structur e may have functioned as a subsidiary furnace,
possibly used for melting down cullet, to make new
The main feature of the Glass Workshop was the
large, centrai fumace (57 1 1) that consisted of an L
shaped or tripartite structure with a centrai firing
chamber and conn ecting ash-pits (Fig. 5. 1 8). The


1 44



fir ing chamber compr ised a squar e pit (5781), 0.7 m

bonded with clay, and situated slightly above the
wide and O. 7 m deep, dug into the fioor of the building
fl oor level of the wor kshop, suppor ted on tile and
and lined with tile fragments bonded with clay and
clay bases. O ne lar ge cut (584 1 ) was found to extend
mor tar . Both the tiles and the mor tar lining of the pit
to the south and east of the firing-pit, with two oval
wer e heavily vitr ified. A r ing of burnt r ed clay that
shaped segments on each side. These two pair s of
encir cled the pit testifies to the fier ce heat that was
oval pits wer e O. 7 m deep and wer e between 0.55 m
contained within it when the kiln was in oper ation.
and 0.6 m in length. These pits wer e initially thought
The clay r ing, which had a diameter of l . 7 m, was
to be flues for the kiln, though the fill (5842), which
initially thought to r epr esent the r emains of an ear lier,
appear s to r epr esent the final fir ing of the kiln, could
circular kiln, although its per fect positioning ar ound
suggest they wer e ash-pits, used for the gener ai clear ing
the pit implies that the two wer e r elated. The inside
out ofthe ash after each firing. These ash-pits contained
of the pit contained a thick mixed layer
(5726) of ash and char coal, as well as a lar ge
quantity of vessel-glass, window-glass and
glass-wor king waste (cf. D'Angelo and
Mar azzi 2006: 45 1). A number of delicate
vessel-glass fragments, decor ated with foliate
and lozenge designs in gold leaf (SF 1 5 14),
wer e found amongst the waste mater ial in the
pit (cf. Chapter 7, pp. 261-6, Fig. 7.38). Simi lar
pieces have been r ecover ed from a number of
eighth- and ninth-centur y sites in Scandinavia
and nor thwest Eur ope, such as Dor estad in
the Nether lands (V an Es and Ver wer s 1 980)
and Helgo in Sweden (Holmqvist and Arrhenius
A second, smaller mor tar -lined pit (5782),
located in front of the western hear th of the
centrai kiln, may r epr esent a subsidiar y ash
pit or per haps a separ ate fir ing chamber . It
was a r ectangular pit, 0.45 m long and 0.3 m
deep, or iented nor th-south. The mor tar lining
of the pit was vitr ified, showing that it had
been subjected to extr eme heat. A cer amic
disc (SF 1 5 13) with a centr ai per for ation
found within the ash fill of the pit may be the
cover of a glor y-hole (boccarella). The
per for ation, 1 2 mm in diameter, r epr esents
the hole wher e the glass-blower 's ir on r od
was inser ted into the kiln. An identica! disc
(SF 1 5 1 9) was r ecover ed from demolition
debr is excavated above the kiln.
The r emainder of the fu rnace str uctur e
constituted two squar e platfor ms or hear ths,
both just under l m squar e, that wer e attached
to the nor thern and western sides ofthe mor tar
lined fir ing-pit. Ther e may have been a thir d
platform extending to the south of the pit, as
suggested by tile impr essions on the mor tar
FIG . 5. 1 9 . Woodcut showing the three-tier 'southern'-style glass furnace.
lipping over the top of the pit. The wor king
(Reproduced (rom Agricola in Hoover and Hoover 1950)
sur faces of the platfor ms wer e made of tiles

immense quantl tl es of glass waste in the form of

moiles: the r enm ants of glass r emoved from the blow
pipe dur ing glass-blowing. The moiles indicate that the
diameter s of the blo wpipes r anged between l O and
1 5 mm - in keeping with the holes in the boccarelle.
O ther glass-making debr is included dr oplets, clippings
and tr immings of glass, and r eticelli r ods, used to
decor ate glass vessels (Piate 5.1).
A glass furnace in some ways sirnilar to that found at
San Vincenzo, but dating to the four teenth or fifteenth
centur y, was discover ed in the Genoese Apennines
(Mann oni 1 972). The main char acter istic ofthe furnace
her e, as at San Vincenzo, was a centr ai, mor tar -lined
pit, surrounded by sieges and connected to a single
ash-pit. Wind was appar ently channelled natur ally
into the pit from stone slabs surr ounding the ash-pit.
The cir cular kiln pr obably had a domed cover . This
type of glass-kiln, known as a 'southern' furnace,
consisted of a thr ee-tier ed str uctur e (Char leston
1 978). The bottom stor ey of the kiln contained the
fir e and a single stoke-hole; the middle chamber
contained the cr ucibles and was accessed by multiple
glor y-holes; and the upper par t of the kiln was used
to cool (anneal) the fi nished vessels (Fig. 5.19). The
southern type of furnace r equir ed that all thr ee
pr ocesses of fritting (the r oasting of the r aw mater ials:
silica and ash), .ft, unding (the shaping and blowing of
the glass) and annealing wer e carried out in the same
structur e (Mannoni 1 972). Closer in date to the San
Vincenzo kiln, a lar ge fumace dating to the seventh
centur y is known from excavations of a glass-making
complex at Santa Mar ia Assunta on the Venetian
island of Tor cello (Leciejewicz, Tabaczyn ska and
Tabaczyn ski 1 977).
In the alternative type of furnace, kn own as a
'nor thern' kiln, with which the San Vincenzo kiln
also shar es some featur es, heat from the centr ai par t
of the str uctur e was tr ansmitted later ally to subsidiar y
furnaces constr ucted on the same level (Fig. 5.20). In
this way, the later al hear ths could be used inter change
ably for the fritting, founding and annealing pr ocesses.
Nor thern fumaces dating to the ninth centur y ar e r ar e:
a poss,ible ninth-centur y example is kn own from
Glastonbur y in southern England (Char leston 1 978),
and four ninth-centur y furnaces wer e excavated at
Nitr a in Slovakia (Hejdova 1 965). The examples
contempor ar y with the San Vincenzo kiln have oval
gr ound-plans, although it is possible that the significant
element is the later al tr ansfer ence ofheatr ather than the
actual shape of the kiln. The construction and use of the
'nor thern' type of furnace was descr ibed in detail by


Fifteenth-century 'northern' glass furnace. (From The

London, British Library, Additional MS
24189, (o/. 16r) (Reproduced courtesy o( the British Library Board)
FIG . 5 . 20.

Travels of Sir John Mandeville.

Theophilus in the second book of his tr eatise, De

Diversis Artibus, wr itten in the fir st half of the twelfth
centur y, although he seems to suggest a r ectangular
gr ound-plan (Dodwel1 1 96 1 : 37-8).
The ear liest kn own visual r epr esentation of a
medieval glass fumace is to be found within the
eleventh-centur y manuscr ipt of Rhabanus Maur us, De
Rerum Naturis (also known as De Universo), at
Monte Cassino (Cavallo 1 994: facsimile, p. 429A)
(Fig. 5.21 ). The details of the fumace ar e r ather unclear,
although it appear s to include an extension to the main
str uctur e, simi lar to the subsidiar y platfor ms at San
Vincenzo. Per haps mor e r elevant is the descr iption of
a tr ipartite glass furnace contained in a twelfth- or
thirteenth-centur y text, De Coloribus et Artibus
Romanorum, compiled by Er aclius (Merr ifield 1 967).
The furnace is descr ibed as having a centr ai hollow
for the fir e and thr ee small compar tments or archae.
A lar ge centr ai ar ch is used for founding and wor king,
a smaller, r ight-hand ar ch for the annealing of finished
vessels, and a left-hand ar ch for fritting and for the
heating or 'pot-ar ching' of the cr ucibles in which the
glass was melted. It is tempting to find convincing sirni
lar ities between the thr ee compar tments of Er aclius's
kiln and the two or thr ee subsidiar y platfor ms of the
San Vincenzo kiln.

1 46



the Temporary Workshops consisted of

a triple-chambered kiln with two add
itional or subsidiary chambers, possibly
for annealing. In summary, the ldln
uniquely appears to have operated as a
combination of the two known types: a
three-tiered, southem type of fumace
but with heat transferred laterally to a
number of subsidiary chambers, as in a
northem fumace.
At San Vincenzo, glass appears to
have been made in a remarkable range
of colours, including purple, cherry red,
cobalt blue, turquoise, streaked red in a
green-blue background, dark red and
dark green. Analysis of the glass frag
ments has shown that both vessel- and
window-glass was being manufactured
(Stevenson 1 997; Dell'Acqua 1 997a;
FIG. 5 . 21 . Eleventh-century miniature depicting a glass-kiln. (Reproduced (rom Cavallo,
Dell'Acqua and James 2001 ; Stevenson
1994: facsimile, p. 429A)
2001 ; Dell'Acqua 2003a). The wide
range of vessel types includes o il lamps
A number of questions surround the San Vincenzo
with vertical handles, bowls, jars, bottles, flasks,
ldln and the way in which it operated. It is not
dishes and drinking vessels. The waste material demon
known, for example, whether the firing-pit was origin
strates that a range of decorative techniques was
ally covered by a centrai platform and one or two upper
employed, including flashing, festooning of coloured
chambers, or whether it remained open. In essence, did
trails and the application of trailed thread The
the kiln operate as a southem or northem type of
window-glass was similar to Roman glass in some
fumace? Furthermore, the absence of a flue leading
aspects, particularly in terms of its composition. A
into the lower levels ofthe pit is puzzling. It is possible
large majority of the windows appears to have been
that air was fed into the kiln at ground level: the linear
made using the 'cylinder' method, whereby a cylinder
cut (5847) that runs from the south edge of the firing
of glass was blown, cut open and flattened on a slab of
chamber for 1 .3 m to the south could be the remains
stone called a marver. Some crown glass, made from a
of a possible flue channel - this was found to be cut
glass cylinder that was quickly rotated to form a disc,
into the clay floor of the workshop.
was also mad in the workshop. Both methods of
Some light may be shed on the San Vincenzo kiln by
production owed their origins to classica! antiquity.
the discovery of a virtually contemporary Abbasid
Their presence once again demonstrates the continuation
glass workshop at al-Raqqa, Syria (Henderson 1 999).
or rediscovery of ancient techniques by the craftsmen
Here, the main glass fumace, described as a 'beehive'
worldng within the Temporary Workshops.
In terms of production, there is no evidence for
type, comprised a three-tiered structure with an addi
tional semicircular annealing chamber built on to the
glass-making using the raw materials of silica (sand)
back of the fumace. The fumace, which had an internai
and alkali (plant ashes) at San Vincenzo. This absence
diameter of 0.75 m, is almost identica! to the San
may be explained by the presence of thousands of
Vincenzo example when compared in section
fragments of working waste and glass cullet, which
(Fig. 5.22). The San Vincenzo kiln differs slightly in
were found discarded on the workshop floor. Large
that it contains two additional side chambers, rather
quantities of Roman vessel-glass and coloured,
than a single one. Furthermore, the glass workshop at
opaque, glass tesserae were also included amongst the
waste material. The discarded glass was obviously a
al-Raqqa contained a centralized system of floor-level
small part of that destined to be recycled and melted
flue channels, which may confirm the ones at San
Vincenzo. On the basis of the al-Raqqa kilns, it
down in the kilns of the Temporary Workshops,
seems reasonable to suggest that the glass fumace in
whilst some of the material was specifically intended

its accompanying claustrum. The scale of his

operation - judging from the profligate
waste - was, by the standards of the age,
stupendous, and we surely cannot doubt that
by bringing light in various forms to the monas
tery the glass-maker was considered to be a
significant artist and craftsman by the commu

- '
- '

\ \
l l


1 47


r -




Excavations undertaken 5 m to the southeast

of the Glass Workshop, in area FF/C-2 (the
South Tower, see Chapter 4, pp. 1 1 5-17),
revealed substantial evidence of bell-casting
in the form of two large pits containing indus
triai residues typically associated with the
process (Fig. 5.23).
A series of demolition tip deposits covered
the Glass Workshop, all rich with bumt clay,
tile and many pieces of glass waste and slag.
There were no inclusions of bell-mould
within these demolition layers, suggesting that
the Glass Workshop was demolished prior to
the bell-casting. Layer 5675 represented the
main demolition of the glass-ldlns: it consisted
of a thick red-brown bumt clay deposit with a
large amount of broken bumt tile, from the
FIG. 5.22. Comparative sections through the glass-kilns at (A) ai-Raqqa, Syria
structure, followed by a series of mixed
(after Henderson 1999: fig. 3) and (B) San Vincenzo. (SDG)
mortar, clay and waste tip deposits. The
southem wall of the Glass Workshop was
removed completely, its alignment being indicated by
to colour the window-glass and to colour and decorate
a robber cut (5851). This removal appears to be directly
glass vessels and lamps (cf. Whitehouse 2003).
associated with the construction of the phase 4 Atrium
Normally glass-makers were very economica! with
wall (5547/461 0). The bell-pit was situated a little down
the waste products and trimmings, and reused every
slope ofthe glass-ldlns, roughly 0.8 m lower in level, due
fragment. By contrast, we may surmise that the quan
to the terracing of the area. Few signs of prior activity
tities of discarded glass found at San Vincenzo suggest
existed here. The earliest layers were identi:fied as
that the glass-maker had access to large quantities of
orange alluvial clays (5722), as in the other areas. The
cullet, which were collected and melted down in the
only features here relating to the earliest industriai
kilns to make new forms. Recycled ancient glass may
activity of the Temporary Workshops were three post
have been imported to the site of San Vincenzo from
hole cuts (57 1 5, 5716, 5497), a shallow square pit
urban and rural villas within the region. Intriguingly,
(5664) and a shallow gully (5663). These rather insig
Theophilus mentioned the existence of coloured,
nificant features were associated with the copper-alloy
opaque: glass tesserae, found in the mosaic floors of
ldln phase, judging from the inclusions of slag and
Roman buildings. Altematively, ready-made glass
crucible within their :fills. These features were all covered
may have been acquired from ports along the coast:
a more significant layer of yellow-brown clay (5442/
there is evidence that glass for export was being
549 1 ). This levelling layer was full of a mixture of finds,
mass-produced in Israel and transported around the
including iron nails, glass fragments and bone; but most
Mediterranean during this time (Whitehouse 2003).
significantly it contained 1 .2 kg of copper crucibles,
The glass-maker, we can argue, was maldng princi
marking the end of that kiln's activity in the Temporary
pally windows and lamps for the great new church and




Wall 5 1 3 6

Wa11 5568

0 ds Q y

5 6 28




46 1 0


46 14


Wall 4634

FIG. 5.23.

The bell-casting pits and associated features below the South Tower of the Eastwork. (SL)

Workshops. Interestingly, this layer also contained three

worked flints, a flint point and a fragment of a blade and
a fragment of a volcanic quern-stone (see Chapter 9,
p. 399, Cat. 1-5).
The next series of features most likely was asso
ciated with the preparation of the area for the bell-pit.

Cutting the levelling layer (5442/549 1 ) on the western

side of the area was a shallow linear gulley (546 1),
running north-south, possibly a drainage ditch. It was
0.2 m deep and sloped downwards to the north. On
the east side of the area a second brown clay layer
(5503) was deposited above 5442/549 1 . Into this clay

layer seven post-holes were cut: 5590, 5592, 5594,

5596, 5598, 5628 and 563 3 . Arranged in a slight
curve, the post-holes possibly represent scaffolding
related to construction of the bell-pit. Another gully
was cut into the clay layers at the same level as the
post-holes. This linear cut (5489/5505) ran east-west
across the southern side of the area and appeared to
continue under the later wall (46 1 4) to the east; this
may have been another drainage ditch. It was cut by
the construction cut (5507) for wall 5089, which ran
north-south across the centre of this area. Excavation
showed that this wall tumed just under later wall
5 1 36, and ran east-west as wall 5568. These walls
were built from travertine blocks with grey mortar
bonding. The walls survived to a height of 0.5 m,
though the full length of wall 5568 is unknown as it
ran beneath later walls in the area. The positioning of
these walls suggests that they were related to the bell
making process. The final preparation of this area for
the bell-pit appears to have been the making ofworking
surface 5562. This was a dark brown clay, 0.25 m deep,
that covers the area, butting up against walls 5089 and
5568. This clay surface was cut by the bell-pits and had
a large amount of trampled inclusions on its surface,
including charcoal, ash and broken tile, along with
pot, bone, copper and iron pieces. There were also
eighteen pieces of soapstone, 323 g of bell-mould and
a near-complete copper-working crucible (SF 1 4 1 2)
found within the deposit.
Evidence for bell-casting followed in the form of
two pits cut into the clay surface (5562) situated
either side of wall 5089. The pit on the eastern side
of the wall (553 1 ) was rectangular in shape, measured
1 . 1 5 x 0.56 m and was 0.95 m deep. This was lined
with clean, yellow clay (5540), which lipped over the
upper edge of the pit and probably functioned initially
as a water reservoir. On the west side of the wall, a
small concentration of tiles was found to be part of
the cut of a large, oval pit (5677). This was almost
certainly used for the casting of the bell. The majority
of the pit was hidden beneath a large, later (phase
5al/2) stair block, although it was possible to ascertain
that the pit was at least 1 .5 m wide and at least 3 m deep,
although the base was never excavated fully. The sides
of the feature changed from a vertical to a sloping
incline and contained a complex series of fills. The
earliest fill was grey-green coloured clay (5792), used
to line the sides of the pit. Pieces of carbonized wood
were visible, pressed into the lining. Around the sides
of the pit, embedded into the clay, were the remains
of a second lining made of travertine, limestone and

1 49

tile fragments (5793). A large number of tiles was

concentrated around the upper edges of the pit lining.
Part of the clay lining was found burnt and slumped
against the south side of the feature, containing an
iron hook-like object (SF 1435), together with an
upturned structure (5702), made from imbrex tiles
and clay. This feature possibly represents the remains
of a vaulted flue channel, similar to the one excavated
at Santi Trinita of Venosa (Vidale et al. 1 992). One
final feature in this area associated with the bell-casting
activity was a small stone feature located about l m
southeast of pit 553 1 . This feature (5600) was built
from limestone and travertine blocks with burnt tile,
and was just one course high, measuring 0.5 x 0. 1 8 m.
It was set into the clay (5662) and was heavily burnt,
suggesting it was a small furnace.
Due to the difficulties in transporting a finished bell,
casting often took place a short distance from where it
was to be housed. It is understandable, therefore, that
many bell-pits have been discovered below the naves
and bell-towers of medieval churches (Neri 2006),
such as the Italian examples of Santa Cornelia in
Lazio (Christie and Daniels 1 99 1), San Paolo di
Valdiponte in Umbria (Blagg 1 974), Sant'Andrea di
Sarzana in Liguria and Santi Giovanni e Reparata in
Lucca (Neri 2006). The same consideration possibly
applied at San Vincenzo, although the South Tower
below which the bell-making pit was found was built
some time after the bell-kilns had gone out of use.
The excavations did not reveal clearly an earlier
structure associated with the bell-kilns, although it
could be thought that the bell they were casting was
intended for a prototype of the South Tower that existed
above or alongside the first Atrium (see Chapter 4,
pp. 12 1-2).
The making of a bell involves three stages: the
formation of the mould from clay (comprising an
inner and an outer shell containing a false bell), the
pre-firing of the mould, and, finally, the casting of the
bell itself. For the second and third stages, a large pit
was required to contain the heat, and quite often the
same pit was used for both processes. This was
obviously the case at San Vincenzo with the larger of
the two pits (5677), a clay-lined, oval hole that had
been dug deep into the natural clay. The fills within
the pit, which measured over 3 m deep, suggested that
it functioned prirnarily as the firing-pit for the bell
moulds and immediately after for the actual casting
using molten copper alloy. The methods used to make
and fire the moulds and to cast the bell were probably
similar to those described by Theophilus in De Diversis






FIG. 5 . 24. The formation of a bell-mould using a lathe. (After Theophilus,

(Dodwe/1 1961))

Artibus (Dodwell 1 96 1 : 1 50-8; Neri 2004; Neri 2006).

His detailed description is probably the earliest
known, western account of bell-making. During the
first stage, the inner part of the mould, called the
core, was formed from well-kneaded clay around a
wooden spindle set on a lathe (Fig. 5.24). The actual
form of the bell was then prepared around the core,
using sheets of tallow applied with a hot iron. Any
decoration required on the finished bell was inscribed
into the tallow using sharp tools.
The San Vincenzo bell almost certainly was made
using a false bell of wax or tallow (lost-wax casting)
rather than of clay or loam (loam-pattern casting).
The latter is probably a post-medieval technique that
developed in response to the high price of tallow and
that is described by the sixteenth-century writer
Vanoccio Biringuccio (De la Pirotechnica VI: 2031 3; Smith and Gnudi 1 980). The method differs from
that described by Theophilus in that it requires the
separate firing of the inner and outer moulds, and a
false beli made of clay rather than wax. 1 In an archaeo
logical context it is possible to assign bell-mould
residues to one of the two methods on the basis of
their colouration: the lost-wax method generally results
in blacker mould fragments, particularly of the cope or
outer mould, as a result of the greater reducing atmos
phere obtained during firing. A preliminary examination
ofthe San Vincenzo bell-mould suggests that perhaps as
many as 95% of the mould fragments were reduced, a
quite clear indication of the use of the lost-wax

D e D iver s is A rt ibu s,

book /Il eh. 85, fig. 2 1

method, although a full analysis of the material has yet

to take place.
To complete the first process described by Theo
philus, the outer mould or cope was formed around
the wax bell, again using well-knead.d clay. The
wooden spindle was extracted from the centre of the
mould and a U-shaped iron fitting for the clapper was
inserted into the upper part of the structure. The
canon moulds for hanging the bell were also formed
at this time, and iron hoops were fitted around the
outside of the cope, ' . . . so close together that there is
not more than a handbreadth between them' (Theo
philus, De Diversis Artibus 3 . 85; Dodwell 1 96 1 :
1 52). Two further layers of clay were then applied to
the cope to cover the hoops. W hen the mould was
dry it was turned on its side and the centre of the core
was partially hollowed out in order to lighten the
mould and to ensure that it would be fired thoroughly.
During the second operation to fire the moulds, the
completed bell-mould, consisting of the inner core,
the outer cope and the false wax bell, would have
been lowered into a prepared firing pit (Fig. 5.25).
Because of its weight, the mould had to be lowered
slowly and carefully. This involved filling the pit with
earth and using four wooden posts as guides to lower
the mould, as it was tilted from side to side and the
earth was removed :from under it. At the base of the
pit was a stone and clay channel within which the fire
was to burn. The fire channel \vas not located within
the San Vincenzo pit due to the in situ staircase.

FIG. 5 . 25 . Reconstruction of the prepared bell-mould within the fring-pit. (After Theophilus,
eh. 85, fig. 23 (Dodwe/1 1961))

However, in one corner, an uptumed structure made

:from imbrex tiles and clay was found, which possibly
denotes the remains of a vaulted flue channel.
During the lost-wax process described by Theophilus,
two holes were made within the base of the mould and
the fire was set. Pots were placed below the holes to
collect the tallow as the false bell melted and a stone
fumace structure was quickly built around the mould.
When the tallow had drained completely, the holes
were plugged with clay, the pit was filled with wood
and covered, and the mould was fired continually for a
day and a night. Theophilus describes how, whilst the
mould was being fired, the bronze-smelting furnaces
were prepared on the ground, close to the firing pit
(Neri 2006). These comprised iron vessels lined with
clay, which were contained within stone and clay fumace
structures. Bellows were then attached to the fumaces
using wooden stakes. When the mould in the pit was
red hot and the firing was nearing completion, the bell
metal was prepared using four parts copper, one part
tin and a quantity of charcoal.

D e D iver s is Art ibu s,

book /Il

The next stage was crucial in terms of timing and

involved the ripping out of the temporary furnace
structure :from the pit, a j ob that ' . . . do es not require
indolent workmen, but quick, keen ones, for fear the
mould be broken by carelessness of any kind, or
some one gets in the way of, or hurts another or
makes him lose his temper' (Theophilus, De Diversis
Artibus 3 .85; Dodwell 1 96 1 : 1 55). After the complete
removal of the fire and fumace structure, the pit was
refilled with earth, which was packed tightly around
the glowing mould, in order to support it during the
casting operation.
The casting of the bell would have followed
immediately, and Theophilus relates how the smelting
furnaces were quickly demolished and the molten
bronze was poured into the mould by hand :from the
iron crucibles. An alternative method, which involves
channelling the molten metal directly into the mould
from a single, large crucible, is also described by
him. The evidence from San Vincenzo suggests that
the metal was poured by hand from ceramic crucibles

1 52


rather than channelled into the mould - an incredible

quantity, almost 2.5 kg, of crucible fragments was
recovered from the two excavated bell-pits. Although
the material has not been analysed, some of the pieces
have been reconstructed to form small, bowl-type
crucibles, many of which have traces of copper alloy
on their inner surfaces.
The majority of the crucible fragments was
contained within the second pit, located slightly to
the east of the bell-casting pit. This pit, which was
lined with thick yellow day, probably functioned
initially as a day quarry and water reservoir during
the making of the mould. The feature may have been
utilized subsequently as part of the smelting fumace.
The only visible remains of a possible furnace consisted
of a burnt stone structure, located on the ground surface
dose to the pit. The presence of over l O kg of bell
mould fragments within the pit showed that it had
been backfilled after the bell had been cast and that
all associated structures had been destroyed. Theo
philus's final passage recounts how, after the casting
operation was complete, the bell was raised from the
pit: the earth surrounding the mould was quickly
removed and the cope allowed to col slightly. The
whole structure was then raised from the pit by packing
earth below it on alternate sides, the reverse of the
process described previously. Once out of the pit, the
mould was laid on its side and the core was quickly
extracted to prevent it expanding and cracking the
bell. The mould was placed upright and once again
allowed to cool. Finally, the cope was broken away
and the iron hoops were removed.
A large piece of the bell-mould core was recovered
some 9 m away from the pit, where it had been left
against an early ninth-century wall (49 1 5). A prelim
inary analysis of the residue suggests that the finished
bell had a diameter of 0.4-0.5 m and would have
weighed in the order of 50 kg. The mould appears to
be made from fine, silty day with mica indusions
and occasionai pieces of organic material: usually
straw, horse dung and animai hair were added.
In summary, the San Vincenzo bell-casting pit bears
dose comparison with the description of bell-making
recorded by Theophilus. In terms of typology, two
principal types of bell-pit are known: the horizontal
draught furnace, where hot air passed below the
platform on which the mould stood, and the circular
updraught kiln, which was stoked from a hole on one
side of the pit. Although the San Vincenzo bell-pit
was not fully excavated, it seems more likely that it
falls within the second category. The distinction


seems to be geographical rather than chronological,

with most, although not all, of the circular bell-pits
confined to Italy (cf. Neri 2006). The San Vincenzo
bell-pit is probably one ofthe earliest circular examples
known in Europe: a bell-pit of the horizontal type was
excavated at Santa Cornelia (Christie and Daniels
1 99 1 : 24-6) dating to c. 875.


Wall 5 1 8 1

1 53




The bell-pits represent the final phase of industriai

activity in the Temporary Workshops before the
construction of the Atrium began and the builders'
yard carne into operation (Fig. 5.26). Both pits were
backfilled with a series of tip deposits and generai
demolition from the kiln structure itself. In pit 553 1
the main backfill was a thick deposit (5532), 0.9 m
deep, comprised largely of stone and tile demolition,
along with mortar lumps and non-local stone. This
deposit lso contained 350 g of crucible, 1 . 7 kg of
bell-mould and l kg of broken pottery. The top fill of
this pit (5527) consisted of a 0 . 1 m deep deposit rich
in burnt day and charcoal, as well as 365 g of rucible
and 6. 1 kg ofbell-mould. The larger bell-pit (5677) was
backfilled with a succession of five mixed demolition
deposits (57 1 8, 5725, 57 1 9, 5714, 5674) (Fig. 5.27).
These deposits were full of ash, burnt day, charcoal,
copper slag and tile fragments, along with a large
number of crucible and bell-mould fragments. After
the refilling of the pits, the workshop area was levelled
with building debris and day. The remains of the kilns
and their waste products were spread over a wide area.
In area FF/G excavation revealed three day levelling
layers: 5579 was the first levelling layer followed by
5552 and 5553 . These layers all contained many bell
mould fragments, along with dumps of ash and char
coal. Similarly in FFIF a series of tipped levelling
layers covered this area; 5657 appeared to be the initial
levelling of the area, followed by a series of tip
deposits, covered finally by 5727/5786. This last level
ling layer was cut by 5832, which was interpreted as the
construction cut for the foundation wall (5547) of the
east wall of the Atrium. This was dearly bonded to
wall 5 3 9 1 , which ran east-west creating the north
wall of the Atrium. This north wall continued west
below the final phase of the Atrium, wall 5 1 8 1 , as
shown in the excavations in area FF/I (Fig. 5.28). The
southern foundation wall of the phase 4 Atrium was
found in FF/C- 1 as wal1 47 12. The relationship between

47 1 2

FIG. 5 . 26.


Area of the
builders' yard

Construction of the Atrium

The construction of the Atrium and the location of the builders' yard and mortar-mixer. (SL)

Phase 5 star block



FIG. 5 .27. West-facing section through the deposits flling the bell
pit (5677) below the phase 5 stair block (4650). (SL)

5547 and this south wall was not dear. However, the
fact that it had been robbed and levelled, as 5391 had
been on the north side, suggests they were contem
porary (cf. Chapter 4, pp. 96-7). The east wall (5547)
was dearly butted by layer 5588; this was a mixed
mortar, day and ash layer, trampled down to create a
working surface - the so-called builders' yard
(Fig. 5.29). It is the sequence of features that were cut
into this surface that suggests there were two phases
to the construction of the Atrium. Post-holes, perhaps
for scaffolding posts related to the continued building
of the Atrium, were cut into this layer, along with a
large mortar-mixer, dearly associated with the
construction of the Atrium.
The mixer resembled the eleventh-century mortar
mixer found in the Garden by the South Church
(Riddler 1 993a: 206-8). It consisted of a circular
feature with a diameter of approximately 3 . 5 m and a
depth of 0.2 m (Fig. 5.30); and it had a square pivot
hole. The mixer had been cut in halfby the construction
ofthe foundations (58 3 1 ) for wal1 4603 . These founda
tions dearly butted the northern wall (539 1), showing a
dear divide between the two principal construction
phases of the Atrium (see Chapter 4, pp. 96-7). This
later wall addition shows that the phase 4a7 Atrium
was a large open area in front of the main Basilica,
into which the phase 5 vaulted corridor was inserted
when the elevated Eastwork was added.

l 54




FIG. 5 . 28 . The standing remains of the north wall of the

Atrium (5 1 8 1 ) and its foundations (539 1 ). (RH)

FIG . 5.30. The mortar-mixer

(5436) cut in half by the phase Sa
Atrium wall (4603). (IWA)

FIG. 5.29. The builders' yard surface in area FF/F looking north,
showing the construction features cut through it. (IWA)

The sequence of activities associated with the con

struction of San Vincenzo Maggiore and the new
phase 4 monastic city merits some consideration. The
Temporary Workshops appear to have made first tiles,
then fine metal objects of copper alloy, then glass in
prodigious quantities, and then one or more bells,
before the area was given over to construction activ
ities. We assume that the tiles were for the roof of the
church and perhaps other buildings. Interestingly,
though, the manufacture of copper-alloy objects possibly lamp-chains, decorative attachments and
similai[ products - preceded the huge production of
glass. \vas this because the metalsmith arrived at San
Vincenzo before the glass-maker? Clearly, the
bell-maker undertook his activities after the Glass
Workshop had been demolished. The scheduling is
certainly intriguing. Quite possibly the operations of
the metalsmith and the glass-maker were transferred
into the extant pis buildings (making up the first
Collective Workshops) to the south once their primary
tasks had been :fulfilled, and that they remained to take
up residency in the later second Collective Workshops.
Continuity of these practices cannot be ruled out,
though the operations in the later permanent phases
of the Collective Workshops were probably more
limited in output than those concentrated in the
Temporary Workshops.
Of the sequence of skilled artisans who operated in
the Temporary Workshops area, only the glass-maker
merited a masonry structure. The other artisans
occupied either post-built timber or pis buildings.
The masonry building, of course, may have been
necessary because the glass-maker required substantial
firing structures including a chimney. Certainly, the
glass-maker's workshop was substantial, most of
which, in fact, was occupied by a centrai kiln.
The pis structures to the south may well have begun
life in some cases as post-built structures and contained
post-built features, notably in the case of the west room,
a timber porch. Porches in this period are rare in peasant
dwellings (Valenti 2004: 23, fig. 9 . l , 2) but are, of
course, known from ecclesiastica! and lite buildings.
It is tempting, then, to assume that the skilled craftsmen
who made the fine copper-alloy objects, the glassware
and, above all, the bell(s) were recognized as special
and accommodated accordingly. Clearly, the glass
maker and the bell-maker were early practitioners of
arts that were to be much lauded by Theophilus in
the twelfth century. These craftsmen were probably

l 55

members of small international communities who, in

the case of glass-making, had extensive mediterranean
connections and, in the case of bell-making, belonged
to the first generation to comprehend the di:fficult
process of making bells (cf. Neri 2006: 1 0-12, 24-6).
It seems equally likely that the tile-maker was of a
similar standing (cf. Moran 2000: 1 76-83). Tile
production on this scale required the confidence to
assemble materials and fire the products effectively.
Plainly this had not happened at San Vincenzo al
Volturno in the eighth century. It is therefore likely
that the artisan was one of the small group of specialists
who enabled Abbot Joshua to realize his vaunting
ambition. All ofthese specialists established procedures
in their crafts that were to be followed on future
occasions. So, in the case of the tile-maker, similar
production technology was to be employed in making
the New Abbey 300 years later (Bowden and Gruber
2006). In short, the discoveries under the Atrium
provide a paradigmatic benchmark for the effective
first use of many crafts that were to become the hall
marks of monastic life during the high Middle Ages.
The inscription above the door of San Vincenzo
Maggiore, of course, mentions the involvement of the
monks in the construction of the Basilica (cf. Chapter
2, p. 36). The intensity of artisanal activity generated
by the demands of Abbot Joshua's plans for the
monastery is likely to have provided some of the
monks of San Vincenzo with a variety of activities to
perform during the interludes between the o:ffi c es. Of
course, it is by no means unlikely that within such a
large community there were to be found individuals
skilled in diverse crafts, such as smiths, masons and
carpenters, and other craftsmen prepared to lend their
expertise. Equally, monks may have been engaged to
carry and fetch the materials needed in these industriai
activities, especially water and wood. Despite the graduai
elimination of obligatory manual work from the lives of
later eighth- and ninth-century monks, numerous sources
attest to the activity ofmembers ofmonastic communities
in the building sites and workshops that existed in
Lombard and Carolingian abbeys at this time.
An emphasis on the preconception and planning of
complex programmes characterizes the descriptions of
Carolingian-period building projects. Of the construc
tion of the Carolingian imperial palace complex at
Aachen, Notker the Stammerer, a monk of Saint Gall,
wrote: 'He [Charlemagne] conceived the idea of
constructing on his native soil and according to his
own plan a cathedral which should be finer than the
ancient buildings of the Romans . . . To help him in



this building he summoned from all the lands beyond

the seas architects and workmen skilled in every
relevant art. He placed in charge of them all a certain
abbot who was most experienced in this sort of work'
(Notker, De Carola Magno 1 .28; Thorpe 1 969: 1 25).
In this celebrated account, Notker appears to be
describing a peculiar formula that was to characterize
the organization ofbuilding projects in the Carolingian
world. An initiative first took the form of a plan devised
by a member of the secular or ecclesiastica! lite. The
services of architects, masons and craftsmen were
then acquired as an essential element of the plan, and
they were placed under the supervision of an appointed
and suitably experienced individuai also of lite status
- in most cases an abbot.
With the gradual elimination of compulsory labour
from the lives of ninth-century monks, the role assumed
by the monastic lite in the initiation and management
of schemes involving the services of architects, masons
and craftsmen is revealing. While we read of monks
involved in the practice of diverse arts and crafts, of
all the medieval craftsmen whose names are given in
documents for the period from the ninth to the thir
teenth centuries, only a minority is in fact identifiable
as either monks or churchmen. The vast majority of
medieval craftsmen was laymen. Of those identifiable
as ecclesiastics, such individuals appear to be patrons
of lite status - abbots and bishops. So, Notker
wrote of the building of the imperial Carolingian
palace at Aachen that the services of masons and
craftsmen were obtained under the orders of the
emperor himself; the craftsmen were then placed in
the charge of an abbot. In the increasingly hierarchical
society of early medieval Europe, the monastic lite
assumed control of the services of the lower order of
society in order to express its social position and
cultural ambition. The status attributed to the lay
craftsman is expressed by the description of Winihart:
'Such humility was in them, that such perfect men
did not disdain to perform menial tasks in their own
person' (as quoted by Mabillon ( 1 723 : 42 1 ) and
Swartwout ( 1 932: 93)).

l . A s at San Vincenzo, one would not expect t o recover any baked
clay fragments derived from a false bell.


Richard Hodges and Sarah Leppard


hile ,Ue construction ofthe Atrium of San Vincenzo Maggiore and the range of structures that
fom\ed its front proceeded across the area of the builders' yard, preparations were made to
form a new workshop complex along the south side of the Basilica. By the first quarter of the
ninth century a row ofbuildings had been erected, some ofwhich incorporated the former craftsmen's
storerooms and lodgings described in Chapter 5 (Fig. 6.1). This line of buildings has been termed the
first Collective Workshops, although, as we shall see, very little of it has survived.
The second Collective Workshops, which succeeded the first building complex, appear to have been
intended as a permanent arrangement, where the monastery's skilled artisans would work to meet the
long-term requirements of the ninth-century community. The structure can be compared broadly with
the workshop complex delineated on the parchment drawing of the Plan of Saint Gall, c. 830 (Horn and
Bom 1 979: I, xxiv, buildings 25--6). On this schematic plan, the collective workshop is subdivided into
a number of separate but interdependent rooms occupied by practitioners of diverse crafts. The work
shop at San Vincenzo reveals a similar arrangement, with each of the excavated rooms in the building
being devoted either to a specific craft or to administration. Like those depicted on the Plan of Saint
Gall, the San Vincenzo buildings, though separate, are interconnected. And like those ofthe Carolingian
monastery, the various craftsmen appear to have enjoyed a certain interdependence.
The Collective Workshops were excavated over many years ( 1 982-4, 1 989-93, 1 996-7) as the
opportunity arose to excavate the patchwork of parcels of land that occupied this part of the site. It
is likely, however, that further rooms exist to the west (sealed below the eleventh-century cloister)
and to the east, where the open field promises relatively simple excavation.
The complex archaeological conditions, further complicated by excavating in trenches over nearly
fifteen years, has made the interpretation of these important buildings particularly diffcult. However,
the essential chronological character is as follows. First, the area south of the Atrium was occupied
by pis buildings (erected in phase 3c/4al to accommodate and serve the phases 4al--6 temporary
artisanal activities, as described in Chapter 5, pp. 129-35). In phase 4a6, with the demolition of the
Temporary Workshops and the levelling of the area to accommodate the Atrium, tips of refuse were
spread out to the south of the Atrium, and, tellingly, to the east of the extant pis buildings. These tips
were the levelling on which not only the phase 4a7 Atrium was constructed but also the first Collective
Workshops, a limited prototype of its second form. Soon afterwards, however, with the reconstruction of
the east end of the Atrium and the making of the Eastwork with a vaulted corridor behind it, the second
Collective Workshops were made, replacing the simpler prototype. A key feature ofthis second version
was the alignment ofRoom B with the vaulted corridor to the yard on the south side ofthe second Col
lective Workshops, thus extending the passageway. In other words, we have associated the making ofthe
line of workshops A-D with the insertion ofthe vaulted corridor below the Atrium in phase Sal .
The excavations also brought to light three further episodes in the history of the second Collective
Workshops: modifications in phase 5a2; a fire in the second half of the ninth century (phase 5b l ); and
the cataclysmic destruction of the complex as a result ofbeing set alight by fire-bearing arrows in 8 8 1
(Ta ble 6.1) .


The Collective Workshops appear to have been conceived as an integral part of Abbot Joshua's
building programme. The evidence suggests that the construction of the complex took place

I S8



I S9

TABLE 6. l . The construction sequences related to the Col l ective Workshops.

Phase 4al -S

First Collective Workshops

Phases 4a6-7 to Sa


Construction of the B asilica & Atrium

! /

.. __


-- '<

Pis buildings

(E and F) with an associated walled enclosure, and industriai activity in the new Room B

Second Collective Workshops

Phase Sa l

Pis buildings

Line of buildings (A to F); A-D constructed of rubble and mortar;

and F in pis with timber details

Phase Sa2

Line of buildings modifed to include two apartments (Rooms C and F) and a granary (Room D);
timber partitions; cocciopesto floors; formation of the associated midden in the vaulted corridor

Phase Sb l

Room D destroyed by localized fire; Rooms D,

Phase Se

Rooms A and B in use as metal workshops; Room C used for accommodation; Rooms D,
used for temporary storage

Phase 6

Some looting of the workshops for building materials

Phase 7

Levelled and sealed by the new eleventh-century cloisters, lying to the south of San Vincenzo

and F used for temporary storage

and F

Phase 4a7/Sa

pis wall

Construction of the Atrium

during the construction of the Atrium. In preparation

for the construction, the area was landscaped in phase
4a6 with demolition material containing industriai
debris and the smashed remains of kilns, derived
from the Temporary Workshops. This also involved
the partial demolition of the clay-bonded builders'
complex (associated with the Temporary Workshops;
Chapter S), and the subsequent realignment of this
range (to align with the Basilica of San Vincenzo
Maggiore) to fonn part of the frst Collective Work-

shops (Fig. 6.2). The excavations across the area

showed several deposits were laid above the natural
clays and early surfaces associated with the pis build
ings. However, at the far eastem end, deposits S l9 1
and S226 appeared t o b e the working beaten-earth
surfaces used during the systematic demolition of the
pis walls and the construction of the realigned work
shop walls. Wall S649 appears to be the earliest built
wall in the realignment phase, as its construction
trench cuts into the beaten earth layers mentioned

Room B

Phase Sal

S l 44

@:R ilii'$!!11\L J-_-_:r


7- =2



FIG . 6. l.

The Collective Workshops in phases 4a i -Sa l . (SL)

Second Collective Workshop

FIG. 6 . 2 .

Wall 3 3 3 0

Making the frst Collective Workshop in phase 4a6. (SL)


:---_ -_u____c_r_u___--"'--



493 1

1 60



above. This wall, built from travertine

blocks and bonded with yellow-beige
mortar, was distinctly different from
the pis walls of the earlier buildings;
running east-west, it formed the
southern limit of what was to become
Room A of the Collective Workshops.
The next wall to be constructed was
575 1/493 1 (hereafter described as
493 1 ), which clearly butted up against
wall 5649 and its construction trench
cut into the beaten earth surfaces. This
wall was similar in construction to
5649 and ran north-south, forming the
eastern limit of Room A. The clay
FiG. 6 . 3 . The rough limestone and quartz cobbled surface in the enclosure of the frst
bonded form of what later became
Collective Workshops. (IWA)
Room D was completely demolished
apart from the west wall, as shown by
left to determine the relationships, due to later wall
the discovery of the pis wall 3330 below the later
49 1 5 and the eleventh-century wall (4033), which
workshop surfaces, and rebuilt as a much larger,
was also built across this earlier wall.
rectangular structure with mortar-bonded walls. Wall
The new structure, which extended for a total of
3228 remained intact as the western limit of the area
28 m from east to west and was 1 1 m wide, formed an
and was extended by just over 3 m to the south with
initial yard or enclosure, with a separate room at the
the addition of wall 3229. This wall, built from rough
eastern end. Inside, the yard was roughly paved with
travertine blocks and bonded with off-white mortar,
limestone and quartz cobbles (Fig. 6.3). At the western
formed a doorway out to the west with the southern
end of the main enclosure structure the surface (3366)
limit wall (4306). This southern wall appeared to run
associated with the pis buildings appeared to be
east for nearly 25 m, to butt up against wall 4722,
reused and another hard-packed clay deposit was laid
though the last 5 m at its east end was robbed away
between the demolished pis wall (33 3 0) and the new
in a later phase of the workshop occupation, so its
southern wall (4306) to level this small area up. Laid
relationship to wall 5649 can only be assumed.
across the east end of the area was a large levelling
Contemporary with this southern wall was the
deposit (5 1 94); a similar level occurred in the eastern
construction of wall 4809, forming the northern limit
room, where a thick deposit (5 1 57) was found.
of this large rectangular structure. This wall, again
It appeared that the land sloped sharply down to the
built from travertine blocks and hard mortar, was
east, towards the river Volturno, necessitating the need
built over the earlier wall of the pis phase building,
for thick levelling deposits at this end. The surfaces laid
though part of this earlier wall (5 144) appeared to
on these levelling layers were hard-wearing limestone
have been kept standing at its eastern end to form the
quartz cobbles (5882, 5086, 5 1 3 5); these surfaces
northern wall of what later became Room B, where,
appeared to have been used during the construction
as with the southern wall, it was later robbed away.
phase and were then levelled over with thick deposits,
At the eastern end what remained of the wall was
preparing the area for the actual workshop phase of the
seen to be bonded with a north-south wall of the pis
structures. These levelling deposits (5 1 94, 5837)
phase. This wall was built over by wall 4 722, defining
contained heaps of ash and charcoal containing great
the eastern limit of the large rectangular structure, and
quantities of glass, crucibles, semiprecious stones and
divided the area from the far eastern room. The north
metal objects, which were dumped above the cobbled
wall may have carried on to the east, creating the
The contents of the ash dumps show that the
northern limit of the easternmost room, the line of
deposits were derived from the Temporary Workshops
which is now represented by the slightly later built
in the Atrium area (f. Chapter 5). It is likely that they
wall (49 1 5). The east-west running wall (5396) that
were deposited here during the clearing ofthe builders'
was seen below the later wall may have been the
for the construction of the Atrium in phase 4a6.
continuation of wall 5 144, though not much of it was

The surfaces of the large enclosure structure suggest

they were used for storing building materials and the
generai working of the materia! needed for the
No similar industriai deposits were recovered from
the western side of the yard during this phase. The
two westernmost rooms of the clay-bonded range
(Rooms E and F) were retained in their entirety, and
it is possible that they continued to be used as accom
modation during the construction of the Atrium.
The Atrium appears to have been completed at this
time. The mortar surface (3347) located in the area
north of the enclosure building and Room E was seen
to butt against the northern wali of the enclosure
(4809); it was then cut by a construction trench
(33 52) for the phase 4a7 south Atrium wali (46 1 8).
The construction of the first Atrium and the Collective
Workshops enclosure essentialiy created a narrow east
west corridor separating the two structures, which
presumably formed part of Abbot Joshua's pian.


It appears that, during the construction of the first
Atrium, another room was created in the new aligned
enclosure building with the insertion of a new wali
(Fig. 6.4). This wali (4742) was inserted just over 4 m
to the west of 4722; its construction trench (5 1 52)
clearly cut through the earlier cobble surface (5086),
dividing the large enclosure structure and creating a
narrow room (from now on referred to as Room B). 1
This room, the narrowest of ali the workshops,
measured 5 m east-west by 1 1 m north-south. The
east wali (4722), which it shared with Room A, and
the west wali (4742), which stili survives to a height
of 0.7 m in places, were constructed of limestone
blocks and yeliow mortar. A narrow doorway was
visible in the southern end of the western wali
(4742), providing access to the open room to the west
that later became Rooms C and D; this doorway
appeared to have been blocked during phase 5a, when
the room was divided into two workshops and in
Room C a kiln (43 1 7) was built against i t. There was
no evidence of a doorway in the east wali (4 722)
providing access from Room B into Room A, and it
is possible that the only access to Room A was from
the north and south sides. It appears that in this phase
the north and south walls of Room B were stili intact,
making it a complete (four-walled) room initially. The
cobble fioor (5086) that was laid in the originai
construction phase of the workshops was covered


with a yeliow clay make-up layer (40 1 7), and served

as the working surface of the workshop (40 1 8/5085).
A few pieces of bone, glass and pottery, as well as
severa! copper-alloy objects, including a pin, were
found trampled into this surface, along with many
tiny copper-alloy droplets from the smelting. Further
clues to the function of the room during this phase
are provided by the discovery of a number of smali
clay hearths, containing fragments of glass and
crucibles, located close to the east and west walls.
In the earliest excavations carried out in the southern
part of Room B two hearths were uncovered. Hearth
4058 was a shallow depression close to the eastern
wall of the room near its southem end. This depression
was cut into the yellow make-up (40 1 7) and was refilled
with the underlying green-grey clay leveliing from the
earlier levels. Set into this clay were several large lime
stone rocks that were then covered with the working
floor surface of the room (401 8/5085). It was after this
that the burning in the hearth took piace. A concentration
of metal objects was found around this hearth, trampled
into the floor surface, including iron keys, and cut lead
and copper-alloy objects. Nearby was found a smali
wheel-thrown nearly-complete crucible (SF 0680)
made from a coarse fabric and heavily fired, with residue
adhering to the sides (Fig. 6.5). A second hearth (4052)
was uncovered to the southwest of the first one. This
hearth was set against the western wali of the room;
although it was not excavated, lots of bumt mussel and
hazelnut shelis were found concentrated around it,
possibly suggesting a domestic use rather than an indus
triai one. Further bumt patches were found in these
earlier excavations to the north of the hearths. Although
these patches were not excavated, they may have been
either other hearths or dumped bumt deposits from the
two working hearths (Moreland 1 985: 40). The later
excavations in the northern part of this room uncovered
one further hearth (5094) set against the western wali just
over 1 .6 m south of the north wall. This hearth was
similar to 4058 insofar as it was a bumt deposit set
into a shallow depression in the floor surface. The
three ash deposits that were associated with this hearth
(5 143, 5 148, 5 1 49) ali contained charcoal and frequent
bumt and broken tiles, as weli as lots of fragments of
glass waste, metal slag and crucible fragments. Also
associated with this hearth were four worked flints three waste flakes and one worked biade (see Chapter
9, Cat. 46--9). One final patch of buming associated
with this phase of activity was found just north of
Room B in the east-west corridor between the Atrium
and the workshops. This dump of charcoal and ash

1 62





0 5123


Room B

Rooin A



FIG. 6.4.

Room B in phase 4a7 with associated features in the corridor to the north. (SL)

(514115142) was cut by the later robber trench removing

the northem wall of Room B, suggesting that originally
this deposit would have butted up against this wall. This
dump was not a hearth itself but most likely associated
with the cleaning out of the hearths in Room B. The

ash contained plentiful amounts of glass waste, metal

waste and crucible fragments like the other hearths.
Excavations immediately north of Room B revealed
several post-holes of this phase associated with the
construction of three large stone pier bases that may

1 63

the south side of the new monastery

(Fig. 6.6). Additional buildings may
have existed to the east and west,
suggested by glimpses of walls and
more floor surfaces continuing into the
trench edges, but these were not excav
ated. The formation of these individuai
workshop buildings belongs to the
period after the first Atrium was
completed and, probably, when the East
work was made and the vaulted corridor
connected the Upper Thoroughfare to
the rear of Room B. The Collective
Workshops, of course, could have been
constructed at any time after the first
or, indeed, after the making of
FIG. 6 . 5 . Copper-alloy crucible (SF 0680) recovered from Room B. (JBB)
the Eastwork with its vaulted corridor
(cf Fig. 4. 1 ).
represent the remains of a wooden staircase leading up
Two main phses of activity were identified within
each room of the Collective Workshops complex.
to the southeast corner of the first Atrium and possibly
to a small bell-tower (possibly a prototype for the later
Relatively little is known of the specific activities that
South Tower; see Chapter 4, p. 121): These post-holes
took place within the individuai rooms during the first
phase, before the extensive changes to the rooms in
(5119, 5121, 5123, 5125, 5127, 5137) and two of the
phase 52. The principal information for the earlier
three pier bases (5098, 5167) all cut through the fioor
ninth century comes from tip layers that represent the
surface (5097) associated with the first industriai
removal of tons of working refuse and debris from
activity in the new Room B.
these early workshops. The midden tips, we surmise,
were created when the buildings were cleared to
facilitate major structural changes, probably in the
840s. The second phase of activity within the Col
lective Workshops, which relates to the period between
After the surfaces of the first, large enclosure structure
were covered aver with the thick levelling deposits of
c. 840/850 and 881, began with structural alterations
material from the Temporary Workshops, it appears
that included the introduction of timber partitions and
the laying of fine cocciopesto floor surfaces. Changes
that another division wall was inserted before the
industriai use of the workshops began (Fig.' 6.6). This
in access were also made, including the closing of
second division wall (4305) was built dividing the
entrances that had existed between and through the
remaining part of the large enclosure structure into
separate rooms. Emphasis instead was placed on
two rooms. It is not clear if this second division wall
directing access to and from the south of the workshop
was contemporary with wall 4742, but it seems likely
range. This was accomplished by the introduction of
now that it was constructed sometime after Room B
large doorways, wide enough for carts in some cases,
was created. This new division wall (4305) was
in the south walls. The changes differ for each room
inserted another 6.5 m to the west of 4742, stopping
and are discussed individually below.
1.2 m away from the south wall to create a doorway
between two rooms, the smaller, Room C, measuring
6.5 m in width and the larger, Room D, measuring
l O m wide. The resulting complex comprised at least
four rectangular and square units. Progressing from
Room A measured 7 m east-west by 11 m north-south
east to west these are referred to as Rooms A, B, C,
and was poorly preserved on its eastem side, its walls
and D. Together with the pis buildings (Rooms E
surviving to just above floor level (Fig. 6.7). Signs of
and F), located immediately to the west, they formed
robber trenches show that the eastem wall was partially
removed before it finally collapsed sometime after the
the nucleus of a range of workshops situated along

1 64



r :

FIG. 6 . 6 .

The second Collective Workshops in phase Sa l . (SL)

Phase 5a2

Phase Sal

Wall 49 1 5

Floor 5260


te n
Tile floor

4993/5 1 87

Wall 5649

FIG. 6 . 7 .


Room A in phases S a l and Sa2. (SL)



493 1

subsequent eleventh-century occupation of the area,

when this area was covered by the east side of the
new cloisters. During the :first phase, narrow doors
may have existed at the west ends of the south (5649)
and north (49 1 5) walls, providing access north to
the Atrium and Eastwork, and south to potentially
further workshops beyond this known complex. The
eleventh-century wall (4033) appeared to be built
through these doorways, slightly obscuring them. The
quartz and tile cobbled floor (5 1 58) that had been laid
during the use of the large enclosure appeared to have
been used for the construction work of this room. A
:fine silt (534 1 ) was removed during the excavations
to reveal this surface and may represent a short
period of disuse while the rest of the workshops were
being constructed. Above this silt deposit was a
compact, heavily trampled surface of crushed tile
fragments and sandy clay (5260), which was between
0 . 1 and 0.2 m thick and covered the entire area of the
room. This surface may represent the actual working
floor of the :first industriai use of this room, as it was
littered with glass waste materia! and crucible
fragments, and ash and charcoal were trampled into
it. This surface was covered by a series of ash dumps
(5 1 98, 5200, 5259), which were laid to level the earlier
surface of the room. These ash dumps contained a rich
assemblage of industriai waste that appeared to have
come from the Temporary Workshops. In particular,
over 1 ,500 fragments of glass were recovered,
including gilded sherds similar to those found in the
phase 4a4 Glass Workshop (Chapter 5, pp. 141-7). A
large quantity of crucible fragments, glass tesserae
and beads were also found, together with a silver
plated gem-setting, copper-alloy strips, an iron knife
biade or tool and a bell-mould, including part of the
inner cast of a bell. The presence of so much of this
earlier industriai waste in these dumps lying on the
working surface may represent the disturbance after
the earthquake in 848 of terrace levelling deposits
taken from the earlier Temporary Workshops.
Evidence of rebuilding was also present in Room A:
the north wall (49 1 5) appeared to be constructed
through t"Qe ash levelling layers mentioned above;
excavation revealed the earlier wall (5396) from the
:first construction phase beneath 49 1 5 . The difference
in the earlier deposits either side of this wall provides
evidence that there was always a dividing wall here
and that 49 1 5 must have been a rebuild of an earlier
wall. The last series of ashy levelling deposits (5200,
5214, 5745) was laid for the preparation of the next
phase of industriai use in Room A. A small collection

1 65

of objects was recovered from these layers, including

a silver denier of Prince Sico of Benevento (8 1 7-32)
(Cat. 1 0.2; Fig. 7. 1 1 7). This coin, which was one of
two silver deniers found in Room A, may have been
intended to provide silver for the silvering of :fine
metalwork. It provides a reasonably secure date for
the :first phase of activity in the room in either the
820s or early 830s. The presence of further gilded
glass fragments found within these ash deposits as
well as glass beads again may be due to the disturbance
of deposits from the Temporary Workshops and the
glass-kiln activity. Small fragments of materia! relating
to metalworking, in particular a copper-alloy gemstone
setting (SF 1 009) with silver-plating, were also found
within these layers and may have come from the
potential metal workshop in Room B (see below,
pp. 1 69, 1 7 1 ).
A second phase of activity concerned the rebuilding of
the north wall and the levelling of the room with the
disturbed deposits from the Temporary Workshops. A
bench (5692) was constructed along the east wall
(493 1 ) (Fig. 6. 7). This bench was constructed with
travertine and water-worn limestone boulders, bonded
with a pink-beige soft mortar. It survived only in a
single course of stones and was constructed through
the levelling layers covering the :first phase floors. A
thick layer of yellow mortar (4992/5698) was laid
abutting the bench, as mortar bedding for the tile
floor (4993/5 1 87) that was to be the working surface
for the second phase of industriai activity in this
room. The second silver denier of Prince Sico of
Benevento (8 1 7-32) (Cat. 1 0. 1 ; Fig. 7. 1 1 7) was found
in the bedding layer, just above the levelling layer in
which the :first coin was found, showing the levelling
and the laying of the bedding for the tile floor as
being contemporary. Traces of plaster found adhering
to the side of the bench show that the room was
decorated and probably painted. The :fine tiled pave
ment (4993/5 1 87) was evident from surviving frag
ments and, where absent, from distinct impressions
visible in the mortar foundation (Fig. 6.8). A second,
silty occupation layer (5 1 7 1 /5693), which had formed
above the remains of the floor, showed that the room
had fallen into a state of disrepair by the time of the
Arab attack. This silty deposit covered most of the
area of Room A and was up to 20 mm thick in places.
Some clues as to the function of the room during the
last years of its use are provided by a number of
remarkable objects found within it. The artefacts




FIG. 6.8. The tiled pavement (4993/

5 1 87) in Room A looking
northeast. (IWA)

Phase S a l


Phase 5a2
Floor 4927

Beam 4922

Floor 4939

carne from thr ee significant deposits. The fir st was the

occupation layer above the tiled floor (5 1 7 1/5693),
wher e a number of copper -alloy objects, including an
open-ended r ing (SF 1 448), a small tack (Cat. 1 .84),
sheet fragments and pieces of beaded wir e, was
r ecover ed. A small ir on chisel (Cat. 2.29) was aiso
found. The second deposit (5676/4941 ) consisted of a
r ich, biack Iayer of char coai and vitr ified mater ial,
which r eiates to the fir e sustained in 88 1 . In this
deposit, ar tefacts such as SF 1453, a small damaged
celi of cloisonn enamel measur ing 490 x l O x
3 . 5 mm (Cat. 5 . 3 ; Fig. 7.37 and Plate 7.4), heips to
deter mine the use of the r oom. The thir d deposit
(5029) was a burnt silty sand deposit that was between
50 and l 00 mm in depth. This deposit for med par t
of the demolition deposits after the Sar acen attack;
significantiy, it contained an ir on arr owhead (Cat.
2.39; Fig. 7.25).
Although the finds from Room A ar e too numer ous
to Iist individually, they include many fragments of
copper -alloy sheet, strips, beaded wir e, tacks, ir on
r ods, hooks and fittings; glass :fragments, cr ucible
sher ds and glass cabochons. Mor e significantly, the
damaged tray of enamel (Cat. 5.3; Fig. 7.37 and Plate
7.4) depicting a Iong-stemmed flower on a gr een back
gr ound, and a Roman gemstone (Cat. 4.2; Fig. 7.35)
wer e r ecover ed. The latter, a white chalcedony, was
fineiy engr aved with the figur e of Bonus Eventus
(Fig. 7.35). Finally, a second small and spectacuiar
tray of cloisonn enamel (Cat. 5.2; Fig. 7.37 and Plate
7.5) was discover ed her e. Though this enamel, which

has a foliate design executed in blue and yellow on a

gr een backgr ound and a multicoiour ed disc at its
centr e, was found in the distur bed eleventh-century
deposits above the r oom, in design, constr uction and
execution it is r elated dir ectly to other enamels manu
factur ed in Italy in the ninth centur y (Mitchell 2001 c;
below, pp. 257-9).
The assemblage of finds strongiy points to Room A
being the wor kshop of a fine-metalwor ker and enameller .
Notwithstanding the finds of glass and other debr is from
the Tempor ar y Wor kshops that became mixed into the
surfaces of this r oom, the pr incipal objects suggest that
the specialist was making the tr ays and beading for
such objects as r eliquar ies, book cover s and pr ocessionai
cr osses.
As discussed above, Room B appear ed to have had an
ear iier industr iai use than the other wor kshops her e. In
phase 5a the r oom was aiter ed r adically: the most
significant al ter ation was the r emovai of the nor thern
and southern walls, cr eating a passage thr ough the
wor kshops to the Atrium (Fig. 6.9). The tr ench cut
(5 1 29) r eveaied the r emoval of the nor thern wall,
which cut the floor sur face (5097) and the ash deposit
(5 141/5 1 42). Above this cut and the ear iier floor
sur faces a Ievelling Iayer was Iaid (5077/5076/5078).
This deposit cover ed the corridor ar ea and spr ead
into Room B. This ashy layer contained al most 2,500

FIG. 6.9.


Room B in phases Sa l and Sa2. (SL)

fragments of giass and giass-pr oduction waste, together

with fragments of cr ucibies and potter y. Sever al pieces
offlint wer e found, such as a r e-touched flake (Chapter
9, Cat. 54) and the br oken end of a wor ked tooi
(Chapter 9, Cat. 55), alongside an ir on knife biade
(Cat. 2.21 ). Ther e wer e also :fragments of beads, shell
and a semipr ecious lapis lazuii gemstone (SF 0678).
This deposit appear ed simiiar to the Ievellin g deposits
found in and ar ound Room A and is inter pr eted best as
r esuiting from distur bed deposits from the Tempor ar y
Wor kshops, r emoved dur ing the construction ofthe East
wor k. At the southern end of the r oom a wide door way
was cr eated by the r emovai of the earlier south wall.
The linteis of this . door way wer e suppor ted by two
Iar ge r eused Roman mar ble door -blocks (401 1, 40 12),
which wer e set into the western and eastern walls of
the r oom (Fig. 6.10). The western door -biock (40 1 1 )
was a Iarge squar e biock measur ing 0 . 8 8 x 0.88 m, in
good condition, and with a cir cular doorpost hole and
squar e door -jamb hole clear ly visibie in the southwest
corner of the biock. The eastern door -biock (40 12)
was not in as good condition as the western. It was
wor ked cr udeiy, and r ectanguiar r ather than squar e,

though the door post hole and door -jamb hole wer e
both clear iy visibie in its southeastern corner . The new
door was almost the width of the r oom, wide enough
for a car t or wagon to enter . Tr aces of a Iar ge wooden
door (5042/5043) wer e found fallen and burnt in situ
dur ing the excavations inside Room B (Fig. 6.1 l ).
Inside the r oom, the walls wer e plaster ed and
modestiy painted, judgin g by the tr aces of piaster stili
adher ing to the walls and from the fragments found in
the burnt r ubble (5025/5026) that collapsed in from
the walls after the Sar acen attack. It was pr obabiy
paved with tiies. In common with the floor in Room
A, this sur face was clear ly in a state of disr epair by
8 8 1, showing it had been used thr oughout the differ ent
activities of this r oom and not r enewed at any time. A
new mor tar floor was laid also in the corr idor to the
nor th (4927), set onto a tiie make-up (5068). As in
Room A, a compact yellow mor tar floor was Iaid in
the ar ea of Room B (4939), cover ing the fir st phase
of industriai activity.
Room B in this phase appear s to have been a south
extension of the vaulted corr idor, connecting the
claustrum to the Collective Wor kshops. Decor ated

1 68



FIG . 6 . 1O. Two large reused

Roman marble door-blocks (40 I l ,
40 1 2), in the south entrance of
Room B in phase Sa l . (IWA)

and floored, it belongs to the time when the Eastwork

was constructed.
The use of Room B as a passageway became unneces
sary once the vaulted corridor beneath the Atrium went
out ofuse and was steadily filled with a midden. At this
time Room B was altered to become a workshop. The
north, wide entrance to the room was narrowed with
FIG . 6. l l . Carbonized remains of
the south door (5042/5043) lying
in situ above the mortar floor of
Room B. (IWA)

the insertion of a threshold beam (4922), creating a

new entrance above the remains of the earlier, removed
northem wall (5 144) (Fig. 6.12).
The main feature associated with this phase ofRoom
B was an oval kiln or hearth (4641) measuring
1 .6 x 0.5 m (Fig. 6. 1 3). The outer wall of the kiln was
constructed with travertine boulders. Four inscribed
ninth-century roof-tiles, with their flanges removed,
had been placed within it to create a level working

1 69

platform. The kiln showed signs of

intense buming, particularly in the
centre, where the tiles were cracked
and bumt to a deep blue-purple colour.
The evidence from Room B, particu
larly in terms of the finds recovered,
suggests that the building was in use
until the moment of the Saracen attack.
The room appears to have been aban
doned quickly and subsequently
destroyed, as a result of a fierce fire.
The carbonized remains of the south
door (5042/5043) provide the most
vivid testimony of the event, lying
where it had fallen above the mortar
floor. Part of a lock mechanism,
FIG . 6 . 12.. Burnt remains of the threshold beam (4922) at the north entrance to Room
hinges, bolts, nails and two keys were
B in phase Sa2. (IWA)
found within the bumt remains (Moreland 1985: 44). The most telling find
was the discovery of seventeen arrowheads, some of
were still embedded within the bumt remains
bumt tiles
of the door (Fig. 6. 1 4). Within the room, the evidence
for the fire was substantial: the painted walls and
mortar :floors were heavily scorched; the wooden
door-lintel and the possible shelves or benches along
the walls had been destroyed completely; a deep,
black deposit of charcoal and silt (5027), containing
the remains of the tiled roof, covered the :floor, with
two :further deposits (5025, 5026) ofheavily bumt lime
stone, mortar and plaster fragments, lying against the
west and east walls respectively. These deposits
appeared to represent the collapse of the walls after
travertine boulders
the fire. A wealth of scattered and broken objects was
found within the blackened remains, which, once
again, allow us to reconstruct vividly the layout and
organization, as well as the messy condition of the
room prior to the fire. Many of the objects were recov
ered from within the bumt remains of the shelves or
benches on which they had been stored. In particular,
the pottery, which comprised a number of fine, red
painted jugs and bowls (Fig. 6. l 5), seems to have
been shelved on the western side of the room, close
to the door. On the shelves opposite was kept a lathe
tumed soapstone jar that may have been used as a
crucible (Patterson 200 1b: figs 1 1 :2, 1 1 :5, 1 1 :6). The
jar appears to have been stored together with a
number of miscellaneous metal objects that included
an iron spike, a knife, a ring and a rein-shackle. A
few pieces of copper sheet and strip were found,
together with a hammered copper-alloy rod with a
FIG . 6.13. Detail of the hearth (464 1 ) at the north end of Room
B. (SL)
soldered handle. A few fragments of crucibles for the

1 70




FIG. 6. 14. Location of the burnt remains

of the south door (5042/5043) and the
Saracen arrowheads found embedded in
it. (KFISL)


FIG. 6 . 1 7 . Ceramic cooking pot found in the phase 5a2 midden to

the north of Room B, in the vaulted corridor. ()55)

FIG. 6. 1 5 .


Small, painted jug found dose to the door in Room B.

working of glass and copper-alloy, pieces of lead and

window-glass complete the list of finds stored by the
door. In the northem half of the room, the objects were
all confined to the eastem shelves, dose to the kiln.
They include two iron spikes, possibly the two halves of
a calliper-type tool, a cut-throat razor, part of a metal
sheath, lumps and fragments of copper-alloy and iron,
and a little imported pottery. A concentration of pottery
found alongside the walls within the bumt timbers of
the fallen door may suggest that there were shelves or

Bumt timbers

workbenches along the walls of this room from which

this pottery fell.
The function of Room B during its final phase is
rather hard to determine due to the diversity of the
finds. However, to judge from the large, oval kiln, the
copper-working crucible and the soapstone jar, it is
likely that the room was utilized for small-scale metal
working, perhaps for the intricate finishing or repair of
objects. The same activity is suggested by the iron
tools, by the metal objects and by the discovery of
copper lumps found trampled into the floor. The
presence of possible shelving or workbenches, and,
particularly, of a lock on the door, bears witness to
the importance of the activity that went on in the

Midden deposit

Saracen arrowheads



FIG . 6. 1 6 .

West-facing section across the corridor area north of Room B, showing the midden deposit (46 1 7). (SL)

1 72


room, and of the value of the objects stored there. As

importantly, we gain a fascinating and almost full
image of a late ninth-century workshop with its array
of objects and its organization of space.
Perhaps the most signifcant evidence associated with
Room B (and possibly the adjacent room) was the
large black, charcoal-rich midden (46 1 7) excavated in
the corridor area immediately north of the room and
in the southern half of the vaulted corridor in FFIF
(48 1 1) (Fig. 6. 1 6). The midden appears to show an
episode of clearance, probably when Room C was
made into a dwelling for an o:fficial. It also may have
contained midden material that had accumulated in
the corridor between Rooms C, D, E and F, being a
mixture of workshop material and domestic debris.
Clearance of this corridor permitted the making of the
south staircase attached to the Atrium, part of which
was found collapsed into the excavations (see
pp. 1 1 8-20).
In the old phase 4a7/Sal corridor between Room B and
the vaulted corridor the tips were almost a metre high. As
best we could tell the tips were piled in the southern
reaches of the vaulted corridor and sloped down across
this earlier corridor to the new wooden partition that
formed the rear wall of Room B in phase 5a2.
The most remarkable aspect of the midden was the
quantity and nature of the finds contained within it:
literally thousands of objects, including the debris of
both daily domestic activities and skilled craft pro
duction, were recovered from the corridor and the
The majority of the midden material comes from the
assemblages of domestic refuse: over 12,000 fragments
of animai bone were recovered, including those of pig,
sheep, goat and cattle (see Chapter 8). Small numbers
of horse, dog, cat, deer, hare/rabbit, beaver, bird and
fish bones were also found. Some of the species may
have been exploited for their craftworking materials of
bone, horn and skin, an interpretation sustained by the
discovery of tools and production waste including
worked bone. Other finds from the midden included
55 kg of pottery in the form of jugs, jars and bowls
(Fig. 6. 1 7) and over l 00 iron objects, such as nails,
rods, tacks, buckles, horseshoes and knives. These
finds obviously represent both domestic and artisanal
refuse. Rather more isolated or unexplained objects
include a small quantity of soapstone, fragments of
glass vessels and mille.jleurs glass, glass beads, glass


stoppers, spindle-whorls, pestles and whetstones. Stran

gely, a considerable number of prehistoric stone tools,
including a miniature green-schist axe, was recovered
from the midden (see pp. 400, 403-4, Cat. 1 9-24, 58-64).
Craft production is indicated by the recovery from
the midden of over l 00 pieces of worked bone,
including combs, decorated trial-pieces and needles
(see pp. 271-5, Cat. 7 . 1 1-20, 7.29-50). Ivory also
appears to have been worked: a small latch (Cat. 7 . l
(Fig. 7.41)) and the finely carved head of a saint with
blue and violet glass eyes were found (Cat. 7.2
(Fig. 7.42 and Plate 7.9). Within the workshops,
worked bone was recovered only from Rooms A and
B, suggesting that these, perhaps, are the most likely
locations of the first phase bone workshop. Evidence
for the working of copper dating to the first phase of
the Collective Workshops is provided by the discovery
of l kg of crucibles, including a complete example of a
copper-working crucible (Fig. 6.5). A range of copper
alloy objects, including strips, a gilded ring setting
containing a large chalcedony (Cat. 4.3 (Piate 7.1))
and five penannular brooches, were also found. Finally,
although finds of window-glass were rare, 68 lead
objects, including several window cames as well as
lattice-work ventilating screens and strips, were
retrieved (see Chapter 7, pp. 247-53).

Phase 5al

Phase 5a2


Cobble floor




Room C, which measured 7 x 1 1 m, was probably the
best preserved of the Collective Workshop buildings
(Fig. 6. 1 8). There were two narrow doorways into the
room during its initial phase. One of these was located
in the southern end of the west wall (4305), giving
access to the adjacent Room D. A second door situated
in the northwest corner of the room, in wall 4809,
permitted passage into an east-west corridor. The
cobbled floor of the enclosure (5072), probably a con
tinuation of the earlier surface 5086, set within yellow
mortar (4996), was also evident beneath this room. An
orange clay (501 7), containing a little glass, crucible
fragments, pottery and animai bones, represented the
first phase occupation levels. In the southeast corner
of the room was a small, square hearth or kiln (43 1 7),
which had a single, heavy tile measuring about
l x l m as a base: it may have been the base of a
chimney (Fig. 6.19). A small bench-like structure
(43 1 9), built of tiles and mortar, standing six courses
high, stood to the east of the hearth, bonded onto the
wall of the workshop along with a large squared

1 73

FIG. 6. 1 8 .


Room C in phases Sal and Sa2. (SL)

block set to the north of the large tile, which, given its
position, . is likely to have been the base of a chimney.
This large block had two circular holes cut into its
side, and it is possible that, along with the short wall
(43 1 9), this block formed a base for the arched dome
of the furnace (cf. Moreland 1 985: 42). The large tile
base was surrounded by smaller broken tiles. Few
finds were associated with it - a few fragments of
pottery, animai bone and glass. However, a feature to
the north of this kiln held some interesting clues as to

its use. In the northeast corner of the room was a

large, deep pit (5 1 14) containing distinct layers of
lime and organic materia! (500 1). This mixed fill
contained ampie amounts of wall-plaster, charred
wood and animai bone, two concentrations of pottery
fragments and one concentration of glass fragments.
The pit, which partially underlay the walls of the
room, was probably either a lavatory or waste pit asso
ciated with the craftsmen's lodgings. Various objects
were recovered from the pit, including an almost

1 74



FIG. 6. 1 9 . The small hearth or kiln

(43 1 7) in the southeast corner of
Room C. (IWA)

complete, early ninth-century ceramic jar (Fig. 6.20) and

an extremely fine, globular blue-green glass-vessel with
brown decorative swirls (SF 067 1 /0672). The pit
appears to have continued in use a:fter the reconstruc
tion of Room C. A corner surround (48 1 6), built of
tiles laid horizontally in mortar, with large upright
stones bounding the edges of the feature, was built
around the northern edges of the pit and bonded onto
the northern and eastern walls in the corner of the
room. The large stones had worked notches running
from top to bottom on their outer face, and the whole
feature had fragments of plaster adhering to its face
near the base. This feature had a small amount of
scorching on its southern edge from the attack in 8 8 1 ,
but was mostly protected by the standing walls.
Excavations to the south of this room revealed strong
evidence that there were other rooms or work areas
associated with the Collective Workshops beyond the
excavations (Fig. 6. 1 8). Just more than l m south of
wall 4306 were two further features associated with
glass production. These features were different in size
and construction to the kiln (43 1 7), and their function
was presumably different. The fonns of these features
were not obviously related to a kiln structure such as
43 17; there were two shallow hollows (440 l ) and a
larger less defined hollow (4402) cut into the orange
brown clay working surface (43 87). The two shallow
hollows both measured 0.8 m long (east to west) and
0.5 m wide, and were between 50 and l OO mm deep.
The orange-brown clay that separated the hollows

was heavily fired, showing that these features were

used for an industriai activity rather than as waste
pits. The larger hollow (4402), located 0.6 m east of
the two other hollows, measured 0.9 m long and

1 75

order for the partition to stand it would

have required wattle or wooden posts
positioned at intervals along its length.
An area of carbonized wood (3363) at
the southern end of the partition slot
may represent one of these support
posts. A narrow, raised corridor,
1 .65 m wide at its southern end
widening to 1 . 8 m at its northern end,
was fonned by this partition, and gave
direct access between the northern and
southern doors (Fig. 6.22).
FIG . 6.2 1 . The base of a large crucible with deep blue glass remaining inside, from the
The surface in the narrow corridor
area to the south of Room C. (PK)
running along the western side of the
room was a cocciopesto surface
(3288). This was laid on two separate
0.6 m wide, running north to south. From within the
bedding and make-up layers, which appeared to be
an intentional attempt to raise the :floor in the corridor
burnt fills of these features many crucible fragments,
small filigree glass rods and fragments of decorated
to a higher level than the :floors in the rooms. The
bedding layer (33 60) was a pale yellow-brown so:ft
and plain vessel-glass were uncovered, as well as the
base of a large crucible with about 20 mm of deep
sandy mortar that had a ra:ft of stones set into it
blue glass remaining inside (Moreland 1985: 46)
(3359). This ra:ft of tightly-packed stones fonned the
compact make-up layer for the cocciopesto :floor
(Fig. 6.21). Considering the difference in structure and
surface. At the northern end ofthis corridor a threshold
size of the different kilns in and around Room C, it is
beam (3305) was laid in the doorway, above the coccio
possible to suggest that the areas were used for a
pesto :floor. The beam was found burnt in situ
range of different glass-working activities. The
heavily-fired hollows to the south of the main room
another sign of the destructive fire that devastated the
workshops. The walls were plastered and painted
may well have been for glass production, while the
kiln within the room was perhaps used for working
along their lower parts with a simple design of
the glass into vessels.
narrow coloured bands in red, blue and white. The
remainder of the building was transfonned into two
rooms by the addition of another timber partition
During its second phase, Room C appears to have been
joining the north-south partition to the eastern wall of
remodelled lavishly into a dwelling. The western
the room (4742). This possible partition was discovered
entrance was closed off and a new, small doorway
only when the burnt destruction deposit (3353) was
was inserted into the south wall (4306), with a
removed from above the workshop's :floor layers to
threshold stone laid (43 1 3). A cream-coloured hard
reveal a strip of the mortar :floor that, strikingly, was
mortar surface (4460) was laid across the area south
not burnt. This may suggest some sort of partition
of Room C, covering features associated with glass
wall was resting on the surface here, which protected
production, and possibly represented a pathway leading
the :floor from being burnt in the fire that destroyed
up to the new door. Inside the room, a wattle and plaster
the workshops. The southern room created by this parti
partition wall (3355) was placed along the western side
tion measured 5.4 m north-south by 4. 7 m east-west. It
of the The construction trench (3337) for this
had a fine cocciopesto :floor (3322) that appears to have
partition wall cut into the earlier :floor layers. The parti
covered the small corner hearth/kiln/chimney base.
tion itself, of which a small section stili remained
This surface was laid on a rubble hardcore bedding
standing up to 0.3 m in height, appeared to be made
(33 6 1 ) of travertine stones set in a matrix of off-white
from a rough burnt plaster that was covered in a lime
mortar that covered the cobble and mortar surface of
wash and painted. In one piace the construction
the earlier glass workshop. The east wall was plastered
trench was packed with tile to support the partition.
and painted. Of this decoration, a simple skirting
No organic materia! was found in the samples of this
survived along the base of the wall, consisting of two
burnt plaster to suggest it was made with daub, but in
narrow bands of colour, grey-blue and red. The

FIG . 6.20. The early ninth-century ceramic jar found in pit 5 1 1 4 in

Room C. (PK)

1 76



FIG . 6.22. Room C looking south,

showing the floor surfaces and the
line of the partition dividing the
two small rooms from the
passageway along its west side.
(The left-hand wall (4735) belongs
to the later eleventh-century
cloister.) (IWA)

FIG . 6 . 24.

northem room created by the east-west part1t10n

measured 4.5 x 4.5 m; it was covered by the same
cocciopesto surface (3322). The corner pit, stili
apparently in use, appears to have been isolated by a
wicker screen. A large piece of plaster (5096), found
face down in the pit (5 1 14), had grooves on its surface
in p laces, showing something had been embedded in it.
Another piece of this plaster showed the interlaced
nature of lathing, suggesting it had been plastered
onto a wicker screen, rather than a stone structure.
Distinctive charcoal levels relating to the attack of
8 8 1 were located across the entire room above the
mortar floors. Deposit 3321 covered the surface in
the two rooms on the east side of the building and
contained many objects related to the use of the
rooms. A thick demolition deposit (3293) consisted of
bumt timbers and tiles mixed with bumt travertine
blocks and scorched wall-plaster. The tiles represented
the collapsed roof of the building.
A number of :finds was recovered from Room C.
With the exception of a single discovery from the
southem room of a large iron pickaxe (Fig. 6.23), all
the objects were recovered from the northem room of
the building. There, a considerable assemblage was
found, including copper-alloy and lead sheets, lead
and iron strips, and iron hooks and nails. The room
also contained a large number of tools, including
awls, chisels and an enormous pair of iron forging
tongs (SF 3486) that had been heavily bumt to a
pink-red colour. One end of the tongs was bent
around the other so they could grip narrow objects

The iron forging-tongs found in Room C. (IWA)

easily (Fig. 6.24). Fifty-four iron points found grouped

together (SF 3484) represent the decayed remains of
a linen heckle, a comb used in the preparation of
wool or flax (Fig. 6.25) (Brodribb, Hands and Walker
2005 : 375-7). Finally, the discovery in the northem
room of a door-lock mechanism and a key (SF 3543),
similar to the ones found in Room B,
highlights the importance of the
building and its contents (see pp. 237-

1 77

Bom 1 979: I, xxiv, buildings 25-6).

The chamberlain was responsible for
the monks' clothing and bedding, and
for all the monastery's tools and uten
sils. Given the nature of Room C and
its contents, we have interpreted this as
the house of San Vincenzo's chamber
lain. An official overseeing the craft
workshops is described at the Lombard
monastery of Bobbio; there he was
named as the camerarius primus. He
worked with the camerarius abbatis
and a iunior prepositus (Destefanis
2002: 5 1).
As noted in Chapter 4 (pp. 1 1 9-20),
a corridor existed between the back
walls of Rooms C, D, E and F and the
south wall of the Atrium. The rear door of Room C,
probably created in phase 5a2, led to this corridor and
then directly to an archway (3243) in a wall enclosing
a staircase ascending the south side of the Atrium
(see pp. 1 1 8-20). The wall collapsed in the later ninth
century, and was found preserved in the excavations




FIG. 6.23 . The large iron pickaxe found in the southern part of
Room C. (J))

Room C was obviously divided into a

reception area or living room in the
front (south) part of the building, and a
room with a possible lavatory isolated
by a wicker screen and a tool store at
the rear. A wooden fence may have
surrounded a yard outside, represented
by a linear carbonized feature (4524)
uncovered 7 m to the south of wall
4306 (Fig. 6.18), and the front of the
building, below the eaves, may have
been decorated with elaborate terracotta
corbels (Fig. 6.26). The decoration and
form of the building indicate that the
person who occupied it was someone
of status within the monastery. It
seems likely that it was designed to
house one of the master craftsmen or
officials closely associated with the
Collective Workshops. Strikingly, the
Plan of Saint Gall depicts just such an
apartment in the collective workshops
at the centre of the complex for the
monastery's chamberlain (Horn and

FIG. 6 . 25 . Reconstruction of a linen heckle. (SDG, after Brodribb, Hands and Wa/ker
2005 : fig. /V.67, p. 377)

1 78



One of the terracotta corbels used to decorate the

south elevation of Room C. (PK)
FIG. 6.26.

with most of its arched doorway intact, as well as a

square window in the wall itself.
Room D, measuring 1 0 m square, was the largest
building of the Collective Workshops complex (Figs
6.1 and 6.27), created by the insertion of dividing
wall 4305 . The northern wall (4809), constructed of
limestone and mortar, abutted the clay-bonded east
wall of Room E (3228), while at the south end of
3228 a short stretch of wall (3229) was added to
square the room off, with wall 4306 forming the
southern extent of the room. In order to support the
roof, the new building was completed by the insertion
of two centrai posts set onto large stone post-pads
(3300, 3341) (Fig. 6.28). These post-pads were
constructed through the floor level (3366) associated
with the earlier enclosure building; the construction
trench (3320) of the centrai wall (4305) also cut
through this level. Both post-pads were constructed of
a large roughly square limestone slab placed within a
construction pit and packed around with smaller lime
stone and travertine blocks. These large slabs were
well bonded with white lumpy mortar, and both

measured just under 0.5 m square. During the first

phase there were three entrances into the building:
two narrow doors were located in the southern ends
of the east and west walls, allowing access into Room
C and round to the southern entrance of Room E. A
third, wider doorway was placed in the north wall of
the building, close to the eastern wall.
The floor of the building during the first phase
consisted of makeshift cobbles of small travertine
boulders and tile fragments compacted into yellow
clay (3365). The surface had been placed around the
edges of the room and within the three doorways; it
covered the two surfaces associated with the earlier
phases of the room (3366, 3367) and sealed the
construction cut for the division wall (4305). This
deposit only remained in patches, so its relationship
to the centrai post-pads was not known, though it is
most likely that they also were sealed by this deposit
since 3320 was sealed by it. Although the function of
Room D during its first phase is not yet clear, a wide
range of objects, including iron buckles, pottery,
hone, painted plaster, glass and crucibles, was found
trampled into the cobbled floor.
During its second phase, Room D appears to have been
transformed extensively. The first alteration involved a
change of access: the three narrow doors were sealed
using travertine rubble and hard, rough mortar. The
narrow doorway in the southwest corner of the room
was blocked (33 14), then plastered on its eastern
face. The second blocking was in the doorway in the
northern wall (33 1 6). Both blockings showed signs of
buming, suggesting that they were done before a fire
destroyed the buildings. The blocking (33 1 5) in the
narrow doorway leading to Room C did not show
any signs of scorching on the stones, though due to
the transformation of the use of Room C it makes
sense that this doorway also was blocked in this
phase. A new entrance, approximately 1 .6 m wide,
was then opened in the centre of the south wall.
In the centrai part of the room, the floor was fur
nished with a crushed travertine and mortar surface
(3299). This was a solid, durable surface, laid over
the cobble floor (3365). Although only isolated patches
of the surface remained, it was apparent that some kind
of division had existed within the floor space. Around
the sides of the room was a layer of fine, trampled
earth (3329), which could only be contemporary with
the hard mortar surface (3299) though it was com
pletely different in form. Within this, on the west side

Phase S a l

1 79

Phase 5a2

Early surface


Cobble surface

------- - -


- - -
Wall 4306

FIG . 6 . 27 .


Room D in phases Sa l and 5a2. (SL)

of the newly-opened south door, were the remains of

timber features. These consisted of the burnt remains
ot,a post (3344) and three beams (3342, 3343, 3345),
which seemed to demarcate the southwest quarter of
the room. The timbers appear to represent a wooden
box or low platform structure, burnt in situ. Identica!
structures may have existed in all four corners. On
the western side of the room (and within the area
defined by the beams), against the wall, was a
rectangular pit (33 1 7) measuring 1 . 1 5 m in length and
0.4 m wide, cut into the earth surface (3329), beside

which were found the charred remains of a container

of grain, possibly a small wooden bucket (33 1 9) and
a pile of burnt grain.
The positioning of the timber structures and the
mortar fioor, combined with the presence of grain and
two quern-stones (Fig. 6.29), which were found outside
the door, suggest that Room D functioned as a granary
during this phase. A small copper-alloy weight (SF
3289), with an inscribed cross and weighing 27 g,
was discovered trampled into the earth surface
(3329), and could have been used for weighing out

FIG . 6.28. Reconstruction of the

east-facing elevation of Room D.



1 80



intersected each other at right angles to fonn a cross

shaped floor. A similar building to the one proposed
here can be seen in the fonn of the Brewers' Granary
of the Plan of Saint Gall (Fig. 6.30).

I Ocm

- - - - - - ---

FIG . 6.29. One of the quern-stones associateci with the Room D

granary. ()V )

and distributing the grain. The interior of the building,

we sunnise, would have comprised four corner bays,
built oftimber, in which the grain was stored. Between
these, two mortared threshing lanes would have

At some time prior to the Saracen attack the granary
was destroyed by fire. The evidence is unequivocal:
the mortar and earth :floor was reddened and contained
the charred remains ofthe timber bays and the container
of grain. The burnt timbers were then covered by a
trampled clay surface (3324), which was later buried
beneath the 8 8 1 destruction levels (3278, 33 1 1 ). The
fire may have begun accidentally and spread quickly
through the roof ofthe complex, which almost certainly
was thatched. Room E, in which remains of the
same event were discemible, and Room F were also
probably roofed with thatch.
Though it is not clear what caused the fire, it is
evident from the laying of the trampled clay surface
that Room D was reused a:fter this event, perhaps as a
storeroom or byre, up until the attack in 88 1 .
The trampled clay (3324), which was heavily
compacted with fragments oftile and travertine crushed
into the surface, contained over l kg of pottery,

including a colander or cheese-strainer, together with

fragments of glass, an iron buckle (Cat. 2. 1 ), and an
iron clapper (Cat. 2.6 1 ; Fig. 7.26) from a small bell.
Curiously, a second, similar iron bell-clapper (Cat.
2.60) was discovered in the black destruction deposit
(3278) that covered the room a:fter the attack in 8 8 1 .
Four large wooden posts appear to have been inserted
into the walls in order to support the damaged roof.
The excavations revealed a number of masonry cuts
with post-shaped mortar inners, one each located in
walls 4809 and 4305, with two more cuts located in
the south wall (4306). The front of the building may
have been re-roofed with tiles, as one ofthe destruction
levels (33 1 1 ), which appeared to be the first collapse
a:fter the attack, consisted mostly of broken bumt tile
fragments and appeared to be confined to the southem
third of the room. The final destruction of Room D in
8 8 1 was discemible in the fonn of the collapsed roof
and the destruction layer (3278) that contained the
bumt remains of the workshop door. Contained
within the remains of the door were eleven identical
round-headed bolts, three iron dome-headed nails and

Phase 5al




3 1 59


FIG . 6.30.


Comparative plans of granaries: (A) at San Vincenzo, Room D; (B) on the Pian of Saint Gall. (KF ofter Horn and Bom l 979: Il, fig. 436)

FIG . 6.31.

Room E, together with Room F, was one of the oldest
surviving buildings in the whole workshop complex.
The phase 3c or 4a building, which measured
6.0 x 9.5 m, was integrated into the Collective Work
shops during the ninth century (Fig. 6.3 1 ) (see
pp. 1 29-35). The originai walls of the building were
built randomly of stone and tile, bonded with clay.
The unique alignment on which Room E and its
partner, Room F, were constructed, meant that the



a number of iron nail fragments, along with pierced

iron strips (Cat. 2.69) that may have been part of the
door furniture. There was also a lock mechanism
(Cat. 2.66). All the pieces were situated on the eastem
side of the new south doorway. A prehistoric stone axe
(Chapter 9, Cat. 70) of igneous rock, reddened and
broken as a result of the fire, was discovered on the
west side of the door. The discovery of this axe in
this position and its significance will be discussed
further in Chapter 9 (p. 398).

Phase 5a2
Atrium wall 46 1 8

Room E in phases Sal and Sa2. (SL)


Atrium wall 46 1 8





FIG . 6 . 3 3 . Reconstruction of the

east-facing elevation of Room E.




FIG . 6.32.

Room E in the foreground and Room D behind, showing the different alignments of the two rooms. (IWA)

two structures encroached westwards towards the south

wall of San Vincenzo Maggiore (Fig. 6.1 ). To the east,
they converged at an angle with Room D (Fig. 6.32).
During the :first phase of the Collective Workshops,
Room E was largely retained in its originai form,
although the originai south wall (3208) was demolished
to fioor level and a new wall was built (3 1 88) to the
immediate south of the earlier one. This wall was
built of random, un-coursed travertine rubble and
occasionai tile fragments bonded with a grey-white
mortar. This rebuilding of the southern wall of the
room may have been the result of weakness caused
by the alterations made to Room D and the demolition
of the pis wall (3330) to the east.
Room E retained its two originai entrances during
the :first phase: one located at the east end of the
north wall (3237), measuring 1 .3 m in width, led into
the thoroughfare; a second, l m wide, led from the
southern end of the west wall (309 1 ) into Room F.
The charred remains of a wooden threshold were
visible in the north doorway. The roof of the building
was supported by a centrai post set on a mortar post-pad
(3294) that was inserted in the earlier phase ofthe room
in pit 3295 (Fig. 6.33). This pit measured 0.75 x 0.8 m,
and the possible remains of the post-support were

found in the shape of an irregularly-shaped mortar

base (3394). As the excavation in Room E was not
completed, little is known of the building during its
:first phase. The earliest fioor reached in the excavations
(3364), consisting of a layer of brown silty clay
containing occasionai travertine and tile fragments
and fiecks of mortar and plaster, was exposed partially
in a narrow slot measuring 1 .3 m in width excavated on
the eastern side ofthe room against wall 3228. A slight
depression in this surface just 1 . 1 m south of the
doorway in wall 3237 suggests the area was heavily
worn. As the excavations did not uncover more of
this room at this earlier level, the relationship of this
surface to the other walls is not known. It is unclear,
therefore, to which phase this fioor belongs, though
as the layers above can be assigned to the second
phase of the Collective Workshops, it can be assumed
that this surface was in use during the :first phase.
Excavations to the north of Room E, in the corridor
between the Atrium and the workshops, provided more
insight into the construction of the Atrium and the
overall plan of the monastery. The construction of the
Atrium on its new alignment caused the Room E and
Room F sections of the east-west corridor to narrow
considerably: the area to the north of Room E was
2.9 m wide, while that to the north ofRoom F measured
only l . 7 m. This formed a new corridor to allow access


to and from these western rooms to the other work

shops. Two new arches created the entrances to this
new corridor (Fig. 6.34). The foundations ofthe western
arch comprised two well-dressed travertine blocks
(3 1 5 7) that were placed against the Atrium wall
(461 8); the opposing footing was provided by similar
stone blocks mortared onto the northern end of wall
3091 . The eastern arch utilized part of wall 3005,
used later for the stairway to the raised Atrium, as its
northern foundation; the stairway wall (3076) was
built abutting this. The southern foundation for this

arch comprised a dressed travertine block situated at

the junction of walls 3228 and 3237. Both arches
would have been approximately 1 .6 m wide.
During the second phase, a third doorway, 1 . 1 m wide,
was created in the southwest corner of the room with
the partial removal of the western end of the southern
wall (3 1 88). The east-facing terminus of the new
walls in Room F formed the opposing door-jamb for
this doorway. The internai surfaces of the walls had
FIG . 6 . 3 4 . The piers of the western
arch in the corridor to the north
of Room E. (IWA)

1 84


FIG. 6 . 3 5 .

Tile steps against wall 309 1 on the west side of Room

E. (IWA)

remains of plaster rendering adhering to them that may

have been applied in this phase. The excavations
uncovered four similar features (3346) set against the
eastern wall (3228). These remained only as yellow
brown patches on the surface (3301), measuring
roughly 1 .05 m in length and 0.5 m in width out :from
the wall, and placed roughly 1 .3 m apart from each
other. These may be the remains ofworlebenches along
side the wall. The floor of the building was refurbished
above the earlier floor (3364) with cocciopesto and tiles
(33 0 1 , 3 1 1 7). At the southern end of the room the
cocciopesto surface (3 1 1 7) was laid over a rubb1e
platform (33 1 0). This platform, made of small lime
stone and travertine rubble in a darle red-brown silty
day matrix, raised the surface and formed the base
for a set of well-constructed tile steps (3098) :from the
floor (3 1 1 7) to the southern doorway (Fig. 6.35). The
platform (33 1 0), which measured 0.2 m high, 4. 7 m
long and 1 . 1 m wide, was constructed against the east


face of wall 309 1 , directly opposite the southern

entrance, and covering the earliest wall (3208). On
the north and east sides, the platform was retained by
a low single-coursed wall (3 1 64) built of limestone
and travertine masonry. The remains of plaster
rendering were visible on the outer faces of the wall,
which stood to a height of 0.2 m. The stairway built
on the rubble platform consisted of three steps
constructed :from well-dressed travertine blocles with
tiled treads. The uppermost step comprised a small plat
form 0.9 m square. The complete structure measured
0.2 m long, 0.9 m wide and rose to a height of
O. 72 m. A partition wall may have existed between
the southern door and the steps: a few burnt timber
features were noticed within the floor, although there
was no opportunity to investigate them. Within the
southwest doorway of the room were the remains of a
tiled surface (3 1 78) measuring 0.68 x 0.58 m. This
tiled surface was bedded on a layer of cocciopesto
and overlay part of the stairway platform (3 1 17) and
part ofthe southern wall (3 1 88). Originally this surface
may have extended across the platform from the
doorway to the stairway. Similar surfaces were revealed
in the excavations in Room F, and were probably
The steps may have provided access to a second
storey or 1oft, perhaps by way of a ladder :from the
platform at the top of the steps. The dose proxirnity
of the steps to a large feature, situated in the northwest
corner of the building, suggests that the two were
related in some way. A less lileely interpretation,
which was considered on excavation, is that the
platform at the top of the steps represents a reader's
pulpit, giving access, via a window in wall 309 1 , to
Room F (Mitchell 1 996a: 1 54).
The (unexcavated) feature consisted of a rectangular
depression measuring 2.5 x 1 .6 m, probably repre
senting a tank or cistern; its depth is unlenown. A
large, hollowed blocle of stone was found dose by,
and together the two are provisionally interpreted as
the tank and counter-weight of an olive press. In
form, the tank is almost identica! to a number of
Roman olive-pressing tanks found in Volubilis,
Morocco (Fig. 6.36) (Behel 1 996). Alternatively, this
might have been a grain silage bin, associated with
the granary.
At some time prior to 881 the tank was filled with
rubble. The dosure of the tank may be associated
with evidence in the room for an earlier fire, as


FIG. 6 . 3 6 . Comparative plans of olive-pressing tanks from: (A) San

Vincenzo, Room E (SL); (B) Volubilis, Morocco (SL after Behel / 996:

observed, in the adjacent rooms. A blacle deposit of

in situ bumt material (3269) surrounded the rectangular
feature in the northwest corner, and covered the floor
surface (3301) to a depth of 0. 1 5 m. This deposit
extended north :from the bacle of the steps for 3 . 8 m
alongside wall 309 1 ; it then turned to extend for
2.5 m alongside wall 3237. There were obvious signs
of burnt timbers within the deposit, which may
represent two further benches in this corner of the

1 85

room, associated with the use of the tank feature

(Fig. 6.37). An iron slide-leey (Cat. 2.64) was found
within this deposit, together with several pieces of
burnt pottery, :from pots that may have been standing
on the benches at the time of the fire. Traces of the
attacle in 8 8 1 were dearly evident :from the debris
covering the room: two deposits of darle grey-blacle
burnt day and silt (3099, 3 1 20) overlay the stairway
and the floor in the s0uthern half of the room; these
deposits, between 0.2 m and 0.3 m in depth, contained
tile, mortar, charcoal and plaster :fragments along with
burnt broleen pottery. The floor (3301) in the remainder
of the room showed signs of scorching and burning,
and it was covered by the fallen debris :from the walls
of the room destroyed by the fire.
Room E appears to have been revisited after 8 8 1 : a
mixed context (323 7) above the floor probably
represents a somewhat failed attempt to salvage lost
or valuable items. This appeared to be made up of
disturbed burnt ash and charcoal deposits mixed with
day and fragments of tile and mortar. These deposits
did not appear to be burnt in situ, suggesting that this
was just a layer of disturbed material, redeposited as
the salvaging occurred. This was covered with the
rubble collapse of the walls (such as 3228, 3235 and
3239) across the eastern half of the room. The many
objects recovered :from the room induded a first
century Roman coin, :fragments of gilded glass (SF
3452) and glass vessels, a 1oom weight, a copper
alloy ring and melted lead. A large number of iron
objects was also found, induding a well-preserved
hinge from a chest (Cat. 2.70) with two nails still
attached, a slide-leey (Cat. 2.64), a drill-bit (Cat.
2.33), a ring (Cat. 2.80), the blade of a knife (Cat.
2.25), a strap-slide (Cat. 2. 12), three large-headed
tacles and a bolt (Cat. 2.90-3) (see Chapter 7). As the
objects are so wide-ranging, it is difficult to place any
secure interpretation on the use of the room at the
time of its destruction. Once again, the evidence
points to the expedient use of a poorly maintained
building in the later ninth century.
Room F is the second of two rooms created from the
large western end room of the pis buildings (cf.
Chapter 5, pp. 132-5). Three of the originai walls of
the room survived to be integrated in the first phase
of the Collective Worleshops. The main room appears
to have been retained mostly in its originai form, but

1 86



1 87

Wall 3149



FIG . 6 . 3 7 .


Room E looking to the south with the tank feature in the northwest corner (bottom right). (IWA)

with a modifcation involving the removal of its south

wall and the addition of two smaller rooms extending
to the south (Fig. 6.38). The modifcations made to
create these southem rooms must be associated with
the removal of wall 3208 in Room E, as this wall was
the southem wall of the large western room of the
originai pis building. In Room F, 2. 6 m of this wall
was retained (3 1 59) to create the division wall between
the southeastem room and the main room, with a
shorter part of it (3220) left standing to form the
north end of the new centrai division wall of the two
southern rooms (3 1 60) and the door-jamb for the
northeast entrance to the southwest room. The rest of
the demolished southern wall (322 1) of the pis
building was observed in the excavations below the
floor immediately west of the remaining wall (3 1 59).
The new pian consisted of one main room, measuring
8.5 x 9.5 m, with clay-bonded walls and a centrai
supporting post mounted on a heavy mortar post-pad
that was inserted in the earlier phase of the room. The
north entrance :from the pis phase into the main
room was retained, as was the southeast entrance into
Room E. Both of the southern rooms had an entrance
into the main room: the entrance to the southeastern
room was created by the removal of just over l m of
the old southern wall, while the entrance to the south
western room was located in the north end of its east

wall. This latter room had one more doorway in the

south end of the west wall, possibly inserted in phase
5a2 of the occupation. This suggests that there were
more workshops or yards associated with the Collective
Workshops further to the west
The small southwestern room measured 4 x 4.5 m
and was formed by the construction of wall 3 1 70 as
its southern wall, 3 17 1 as part of its western wall,
and 3 1 65 as its northern wall (Fig. 6.38). Its east wall
(3 1 60) was shared with the second small room. The
rest of its west wall was formed by the insertion of a
thinner tapering wall (3 1 92) that may have been a
blocking wall filling in a doorway. All the walls were
built :from travertine blocks with occasional limestone
inclusions. Most were bonded with a hard white
mortar, though wall 3 160 was bonded with a yellow
mortar. This room was constructed over and beyond
the line of the originai pis southem wall of Room F.
The smaller eastern room measured 2.5 x 3 m. Its
north wall was part of the old pis wall (3 1 59), with
a short stretch of wall 3 1 50 built butting the south
side of 3 1 59. This part is probably the continuation of
wall 3 1 88, the new southern wall of Room E. Its east
wall (3 1 5 1) was built :from travertine blocks bonded
with hard yellow mortar, while its southern wall
(3 1 7 6) was bonded with hard white mortar. The three
large post-holes, :from the potential timber porch feature


Wall 3159




Wall 3176

FIG. 6 . 3 8 .


Room F in phases Sa l and 5a2. (SL)

in its earliest phase, appeared to be part of the construc

tion of these walls, suggesting that the posts of the
porch were stili standing and were incorporated into
the walls at each corner junction along the southern
side of these two small rooms. The floor surfaces of
these first phase rooms may have been just beaten

earth, judging :from the pit cut (3 1 79) against the east
side of wall 3 1 60, and the comparable evidence
observed beneath the hearth or oven (3 1 63) in the
southwest room and beneath the tile surfaces in the
main room. Pit 3 1 79 revealed a sterile day beneath
the later finer floor surface (discussed below, in phase




5a2) that may have been used as a surface in the first

phase of the room, though so little of it was seen that
this is not conclusive. Similarly, in the southwestern
room a firm clay deposit was seen below the later
floor surface where it was cut by the insertion of a
hearth or oven. Lastly, in Room F itself the entire
area was covered with a yeliow-brown sandy silt
deposit (3 1 1 5/3 1 82) that was later covered by a tile
floor. This silty deposit may have been used during
the first phase of occupation of the room. These
layers were not excavated.
In the smali southwestern room the excavation stopped
at the fine cocciopesto floor surface that covered the
room. This surface (3 1 66) was laid for the last occupa
tion of this room and was made from a pinkish white
mortar set with crushed pot and tile :fragments. It was
a very hard durable surface that undulated only where
the demolished pis wali ran beneath it. In the southeast
corner of this room a tiled feature (3 1 63) was
uncovered that appeared to have been truncated by
the construction of the eleventh-century wali that was
built across this end of the site. This tiled feature was
built into the corner of the room against walis 3 1 60
and 3 1 70, and consisted of a travertine block and
irregular broken bits of inscribed ninth-century tiles
FIG. 6 . 3 9 . The phase Sa2 tile hearth feature in the small southwest
set into a hard yeliow mortar, ali set in a semicircular
room of Room F. (IWA)
shape surrounding a holiow of burnt clay, suggesting
an oven or hearth (Fig. 6.39). This caused some destruc
layer (3 1 1 5/3 1 82). The patches of tile floor were
tion to the cocciopesto floor, so it may be a later add
located just south of the northern doorway, by the
ition to the room although stili pre-dating 8 8 1 .
entrances to the southern rooms and just west of the
Opposite this feature, against the western wali (3 1 7 1 ),
centre of the main room (Fig. 6.40). They, too, were
was a step made from travertine blocks and cocciopesto
ali heavily worn and showed signs of burning from
roughly bonded to the wali. This step (3 1 7 5) was O .2 m
the fire that destroyed the workshops.
high and was a later addition to the room, as it sat on
floor surface 3 1 66. It must have led
out through the entrance in the western
wali suggested by the remains of a
carbonized plank (3222) covering part
of the western wali at this point.
The smalier room to the east had a
similar cocciopesto surface (3 1 62),
which covered the entire room. It was
heavily abraded in the areas by the
doorway and in the southeastern
corner, an indication of frequent use.
The main room appeared to have been
surfaced with a tile and cocciopesto
floor, shown by three remaining patches
FIG. 6.40. One of the remaining patches of the phase Sa2 tile floor in Room F. (IWA)
(3 1 14, 3 1 74, 3 1 8 1 ) laid over a silty

The walis ofthe two south rooms were plastered and

painted. The corners of the rooms were marked with a
broad red band extending some 90 mm along each wali;
this was bordered by a 3 0 mm vertical band of grey, and
the remainder of the wali was covered with a pale grey
wash. Given the extensive use of painted decoration to
articulate the social hierarchy of spaces throughout the
complex at San Vincenzo, it seems likely that these
simple decorative schemes were designed to mark
these rooms off :from the other sections of the workshop
range as domestic spaces of some distinction. The main
room of the building also appears to have been
plastered during this second phase.
The destruction of the workshops in 8 8 1 is evident in
the southwestern room and the main room, where
thick black burnt deposits (3 1 68, 3 1 67, 3 1 58) covered
the floor surfaces. These deposits contained smashed
burnt tiles, though not of the concentration that would
suggest the coliapse of a tiled roof. Strangely, the
smali southeastern room, although there were some
signs of buming on the floor surface itself, contained
no burnt1destruction materia!. Deposit 3 1 6 1 , overlying
the floor, contained plenty of broken tile and mortar
:fragments, but no charcoal or ash. Very few objects
were recovered from these destruction levels; indeed,
the smali southeastern room was completely devoid
of finds and the large room to the north contained
only two or three scraps of iron and copper-alioy,
although :fragments of pottery were found that may
have had an industriai use. The most complete evidence
carne :from the southwestern room, where the distinct
ive black destruction layer (3 1 67) contained a single
arrowhead. A large iron ring, a quantity of pottery
and animai hone and a bumt fragment of a marble
funerary inscription (Cat. 9.29) were also discovered
In summary, the smali number of finds recovered
from Room F makes it impossible to associate the
building with any specific craft activity, during either
the first or second phases ofthe Coliective Workshops.
The lack of finds in itself may be a significant factor.
The presence of the fine tile and mortar floors and of
the decorateci walis suggest that the room may have
had some kind of domestic/residential function in its
latest phase. The insertion of the fireplace and its
location near Rooms D and E, each with evidence of
agrarian use, may suggest its occupant was involved
in the organization and administration of the monas
tery's agricultural sector. Alternatively, the possible


association of the potential pulpit steps in Room E

suggest that the main room may have been used as a
refectory for the artisans working in the rest of the
workshops (Mitcheli 1 996a: 1 53-5). It does bear
some similarity to the main Refectory in the claustrum
(Hodges et al. 1 995).

The first Coliective Workshops were probably estab

lished in phase 4a7 and their successor, the second
Coliective Workshops, were erected in phase 5a1 ; the
latter comprised two principal phases, once the range
was connected by the vaulted corridor to the nucleus
of the monastery. The first phase of the second
Coliective Workshops dates approxirnately to the
second quarter of the ninth century, when the permanent
workshop range was constructed above the partialiy
demolished remains of the clay-bonded builders' yard
complex. Little is known of the function of the indi
viduai buildings at this time. The rooms, which were
interconnected, appear to have been furnished sparsely,
with clay and cobbled floors. Each room was utilized
for a variety of smali-scale activities, rather than for a
single, particular craft. Deposits containing a mixture
of glass, hone, pottery and metals occur throughout
the complex. This initial, light-industrial phase
contrasts greatly with the heavy-industrial production
that took piace in the preceding Temporary Workshops
(see Chapter 5). Nevertheless, the vaulted corridor
joining this area to the claustrum strongly suggests
that the products were made principaliy for the monas
tery itself.
During the second phase, significant alterations were
made to the whole of the workshop complex, probably
in the 840s (see above, p. 1 59). The changes involved
the making of either one or two dweliings in the
range, as weli as associateci weli-furnished workshops.
The reorganization suggests a strong impetus towards
organized production, particularly within the monas
tery's craft and agricultural sectors, which seem to
have been located respectively on the east and west
sides of the Coliective Workshops range. In particular,
an official - a chamberlain or camerarius (Schwind
1 984: 1 1 3) - may have been instalied within Room
C to contro! production within the craft workshops
and to ensure the replenishment and maintenance of
the monastery's materia! supplies and tools. Similarly,
a high-status individuai may have been based in
Room F, to oversee the agricultural range that may
have been established on the west side ofthe Coliective

1 90



TABLE 6 . 2 . The workshop activities in the Collective Workshops.

First Co/lective Workshops

Phases 4a6-7/5a


and F, and an enclosure; no production debris

Second Co/lective Workshops

Phase Sa l
Phase 5a2
Phase Sb



A (enamels and fne-metalwork), B (fne-metalwork), C (glass-working), D (unknown: worked bone and

ivory?), E and F (accommodation)

A (enamels and fne-metalwork), B (fne-metalwork), C (chamberlain's apartment), D (granary),

press?), F (accommodation)


A (enamels and fne-metalwork), B (fne-metalwork), C (chamberlain's apartment), D (out of use), E

and F (accommodation)

Workshops complex. The signifcance ofthe two dwell

ings and their occupants is highlighted by the presence
of the adjacent enamel and metal workshops within the
craft sector, and ofthe granary and possible olive press
as part of the agricultural range. The wealth of craft and
domestic material recovered from the midden deposits
in the corridor is an exceptional legacy to the skill,
craftsmanship and organization in this complex
during the third quarter of the ninth century. However,
before the cataclysmic destruction wreaked in the
Collective Workshops in 8 8 1 , several rooms were in a
state of disrepair.
Like the better-known shops found at Sardis,
apparently destroyed in a Persian attack dated to 6 1 3
(Crawford 1 990; Ellis 2007: 296-9), the 8 8 1 sack
levels from these buildings at San Vincenzo provide a
'Pompeian premise' snapshot of the buildings and
their activities on the eve of the catastrophe (Binford
1 9 8 1 ; Murray 1 999). In addition, the palimpsest of
levels dating back to the late eighth century throws
much light on the building history.
The best parallel for a ninth-century building of this
type is the so-called collective workshop depicted on
the drawing of the Carolingian monastery of Saint
Gall dated to c. 830. On this plan, the collective work
shop is a roughly square structure, subdivided into a
number of separate but interdependent rooms occupied
by diverse craftsmen: shield-makers, sword-grinders,
saddlers, shoemakers, curriers, turners, fullers, black
smiths and goldsmiths (Horn and Born 1 979: II, 1 8999; Schwind 1 984: 1 06-12). The plan is a controversia!
document; nevertheless, some corroboration for the
existence of monastic buildings of this kind comes
from the author ofthe Chronica Monasterii Casinensis,
the late eleventh-century chronicle of San Vincenzo's
sister abbey, Monte Cassino, which refers to the work
shops that once stood either side of the ninth-century

church of San Salvatore, in the borgo below the

monastery (Citarella and Willard 1 983 : 42).
On the basis of the industriai waste from the three
entirely different complexes, the workshop activities
are summarized in Table 6.2.
Turning to the architecture of these buildings, post
built structures, with the exception of the porch added
to Room F, are largely absent, although most of the
buildings had timber features. Post-built construction
was very much the vernacular norm at this time in
the countryside; indeed, most of the buildings in San
Vincenzo's borgo were post-built (Bowden and
Gruber 2006: 159-62, 1 70-3). Instead, two types of
structures occur here: mortared rubble structures,
similar to most of the monastic buildings erected in
phases 4 and 5, and simple variations ofpis structures
with conspicuous use of rubble in the lower reaches of
the walls as well as timber detailing. The promiscuous
use of lime mortar in the construction of the phase 4a4
Glass Workshop is reminiscent of the lavish lime
mortar rendering used in San Vincenzo Minore phase
3c, following the re-introduction of lime mortar to the
site in the later eighth century (Hodges and Mithen
1 993 : 1 34). After this, lime mortar was used sparingly.
Rooms E and F, built in a variant of pis, merit
special attention. Common in classical construction
- even in great villas such as Settefnestre (Carandini
1 985 : 65)
pis is unknown elsewhere at San
Vincenzo. Possibly this is because these are the oldest
buildings from this sector of the monastic site. Origin
ating in either phase 3c or 4a, the proposed line of fve
rooms, including E and F, beg many questions. In the
wet upland climate of San Vincenzo, pis was an
unusual construction method, whicn needed to be
protected by a good roof. Given the later ninth-century
evidence of tile and mortar surfaces in E and F, and the
presence of painted plaster in Room F (possibly

belonging to phase 4), it is tempting to interpret these

two and the last three rooms as accommodation for
the craftsmen involved in the construction and
furnishing of Abbot Joshua's new monastery. More
aver, being a construction form largely alien to the
upper Volturno valley, it is no less tempting to interpret
them as the work of an architect who, like the
craftsmen, was not from the immediate area.
Turning to the details, reused Roman pieces were
used to make the south door of Room A from the
840s onwards, just as terracotta corbels (modillions)
- features hitherto associated with church ornamenta
tion - were employed to decorate the south-facing
elevation of Room C, the room of an official, perhaps
a chamberlain (Mitchell 200 1b: 1 1 7-1 9, cat. 126-9,
fgs 3 :229-32). Spolia, it should be noted, were
commonly employed in the main monastic rooms and
churches in phases 4 and 5 ; if anything, the absence
of spolia, in the workshops is noteworthy (Castellani
2000). Mdillions, on the other hand, were found
elsewhere at San Vincenzo only in the Refectory. In
his study of the modillions, Mitchell (200 1b: 1 1 7)
described them as 'extremely simplifed versions of
antique marble acanthus modillions and consoles'.
Ninth-century parallels are known from San Salvatore
in Brescia, though the concept is best illustrated by
the reused consoles deployed to decorate the crown
of the apse of San Martino ai Monti in Rome. These
embellishments may have been made because appro
priate spolia were not available. That said, although
the modillions and painted walls of Room C merit
our attention, the overall dcor of the room was
modest by comparison with the grandiosity of the
decoration in the frst-floor palatial hall of the South
Church at San Vincenzo (Hodges and Mithen 1 993:
1 86-9) or indeed the putative Abbot's House found
in area W/A of the Suor Orsola Benincasa excavations
(Marazzi et al. 2002: 263-4, pl. 1 7, fig. 35)_
The painted decoration from Room C belongs to the
moment when the workshop was altered to accommodate
an o:fficial. If it dates, as we argue elsewhere in this
volume (p. 429), to the 840s, it is some of the latest
ninth-centufY painting found at San Vincenzo, showing
the continuity of the tradition of decorating important
spaces. The traces of decoration in Room E probably
belong to the same phase, but could be earlier. Here, the
decorated room was smaller, but none the less the painting
would seem to establish some spatial hierarchy, distin
guishing the room from other parts of this complex.
With the changes made in the 840s, timber partitions
as well as makeshift timber uprights and even a timber


threshold (in Room F) were ubiquitous throughout the

Collective Workshops. All the signs are that the
monastery could no longer maintain its buildings as
before, and expedient measures were necessary.
The floors are no less interesting. Ninth-century San
Vincenzo boasted a range offlooring, including marble,
opus sectile, terracotta tiled floors, cocciopesto, simple
mortar surfaces, cobbles and earthen surfaces. Room A,
the enameller's workshnp, had a tiled floor. Traces of
tiling were found also in Rooms B, E and F. Like the
well-used corridors and rooms of San Vincenzo, these
were places that, perhaps because they were visited
by San Vincenzo's patrons, were afforded good
flooring. Equally, the cocciopesto flooring in Room
C, the administrator or chamberlain's apartment, is
surely an index of status - an index that in the case
of Rooms E and F suggests that the craftsmen, import
aut individuals in the rhythm of the monastery's life,
were accommodated here. Elsewhere, cobbling or
earthen floors, as in the undercrofts of the distinguished
guests' quarters (in the South Church), were perfectly
normal (Hodges and Mithen 1 993: 1 85).
The fumishing of the rooms evidently was varied.
Traces of possible chimneys were found in Rooms C
and F. The use of chimneys is understood poorly at
this time, and further research is necessary as usually
hearths were located, like braziers, away from the
wall? The possible chimney in the northwest corner of
the phase 4a4 Glass Workshop may have been a proto
type for the features found in Rooms C and F. The
possible latrine in Room C, like the one found in the
Distinguished Guests' Refectory, was simply constructed
with tile, rubble and mortar, yet can be interpreted as an
index of the private status of this building (Riddler
1 993b: 2 1 1-12, 2 1 5; cf. Ellis 2007: 297).
Rooms A, B and C were probably single storeyed
with low-pitched roofs. 4 Room D had a higher pitched
roof of thatch supported by uprights set on post-pads
a common feature in modern Molisano vernacular
architecture (Marino, Guerrizio and Libertucci 200 1).
Room E almost certainly had a frst-floor 1oft platform
(Fig. 6.33). The roofs are no less interesting. Rooms A,
B and C were tiled; D was certainly thatched, while E
and F were possibly roofed with either thatch or, less
probably, reeds or shingle. Tile production appears to
have been revived in Italy during the later eighth
century, as the lite began to build in stone once more
with the re-introduction of lime mortar. Thatching
was undoubtedly the vernacular norm. Indeed, the
monks' Refectory was thatched, even though it was
paved with tiles. Clearly, tiling most of the Collective

1 92


Workshops, just as the principal monastic buildings

were tiled, signalled their particular significance.
Equally, the thatching of Room D shows that the
room was remodelled from being a workshop with
kilns or braziers into a granary at least for part of its life.
Room C, the accommodation for a prominent
member of the monastery, merits comparison with
known lite dwellings of the age. It was clearly not
comparable to the ninth-century stone-built, porticoed
hall house with an associated storage building as
found in the Forum of Nerva in Rome (Meneghini
and Santangeli Valenziani 2004: 34-40) or Naples
(Skinner 1 994: 285-9). Nor does it resemble the
ninth-century Poggibonsi 1onghouse, with its curved
sides, measuring 1 7 m long by 8 m wide (Francovich
and Valenti 1 996; Valenti 2004). This, though, had
two rooms, and associated with it was a post-built
granary. Like the dwelling in the Forum of Nerva, the
longhouse at Poggibonsi (Tuscany) had a simple
timber porch resembling the south porch of Room F.
A closer parallel for Room C is perhaps a town house
in Ferrara, which, like Rooms C, E and F, consisted
of spaces subdivided by timber partition walls (Gadd
and Ward-Perkins 1 991). The association with the
granary is particularly noteworthy, as it is not at ali
unique. The ninth-century grain silos associated with
the main dwelling at Santa Maria in Civita (Molise)
illustrate a simple variant of this arrangement (Bowes
and Hodges 2002). A closer parallel is the longhouse
and granary at Poggibonsi, and the ninth-century
granary found in the seigneurial nucleus at Montarrenti
(Tuscany) (Cantini 2003). In each case the granary has
been interpreted as evidence of a curtis settlement, a
proto-feudal manor, receiving grain from its dependent
estates (cf. Francovich and Hodges 2003 : 76-1 05).
Perhaps an even closer parallel is the tufa-built south
east complex in the ninth-century papal farm at Santa
Cornelia (Lazio). The three rooms there had mortar
floors, and a Roman threshold lay at the entry to
room 2. Neil Christie and Charles Daniels, in their
report on the excavations, ventured as follows:
'Though the evidence is scanty, one can tentatively
hypothesize that this zone formed the administrative
centre of the domusculta, and that areas for workshops,
storage and for accommodation of the estate workers
lay close by' (Christie and Daniels 1 99 1 : 1 85).
The debris associated with the Collective Workshops
shows that their occupants were making prestige goods
that are found rarely in archaeological excavations, but
are listed in the inventories of church and monastic
treasuries. The artisans who constructed the Temporary


Workshops were probably skilled craftsmen attracted to

San Vincenzo by its growing status. The later Collect
ive Workshops may have housed those who chose to
remain at San Vincenzo, producing enamels, ivories,
fine-metalwork and glassware. After the earthquake
of 848, notwithstanding the high-quality enamel and
metalworking in Rooms A and B, production clearly
declined, and the creation here of what amounted to a
manorial complex in the west half ofthe range tellingly
reveals the changing conditions of the age. The further
deterioration of the complex by 8 8 1 baldly illustrates
the decline of San Vincenzo as a successful player in
a regional and interregional economy.

N om
l . The new wall had several context numbers assigned to it during
the years of excavation: for ease it will be referred to as 4742 in
this report.

See Chapter l O for a discussion of this building

3. Marco



(1996: fig.


(p. 4 1 6).

described an example


and Gian Pietro Brogiolo and Sauro Gelichi

(1997: figs 27, 35) discussed examples found at Piadena and

4. Cf. the reconstruction of the Forum of Nerva buildings by
Roberto Meneghini and Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani (2004:
fig. 25).
5 . On tile production, see: Gelichi and Novara 2000; on mortar
mixers : Gutscher 198 1 .

1 93





greatest length of the latera! half (GLI)


number of cases


me an

standard deviation








7 1 .S




2.S9 1

6.7 1 2




breath of the proximal end (Bp)

number of cases


me an

standard deviation

varian ce



46. 1

3. 1 93

1 0. 1 93



46. 1


2 1 .402


44.4-47. 1


1 .909





2. 1 2S

4.S I 6



greatest breadth at the distai fusion point


me an

standard deviation







1 2.269








9. 1 69




1 9.683

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