The Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions Project

Featured Theme: Bricks

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Bricks were a common Roman building material. They were mass produced using clay dug from the countryside around Rome. They were much larger than modern bricks (closer in shape to modern paving slabs).

Bricks were often stamped with the name of the makers, like a modern trademark, although debate continues as to what the function of these stamps really was in Roman times. They often recorded the year of manufacture and the name of the estate owner from whose land the clay was taken. Some of these stamps include images or other designs. These stamps were of interest to antiquarians and collectors, who often cut them out of the bricks to keep them in their collections.

An introduction to Brick stamps

Bricks made by Roman women

AshLI have experimented with recreating Roman brick stamps through 3D printing, to allow visitors to try out Roman mass-production. These stamps are available for use by schools and other groups. To try them out, follow this link to book a session with the Ashmolean Education Department.

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