Natalia Toma-Kansteiner, Alumni


Natalia Toma-Kansteiner

Liz., M.A., M.Sc. in Ancient History, Classical Archaeology, Historical Architecture & Heritage Management

PhD project
Marble and the Monumentalisation of the Urban Landscape of the Roman Cities. The Phenomenon of Marble Trade and its Consequences on the Roman Architecture and on the Appearance of the Roman Cities during 1st - 3rd Century AD
This PhD thesis focuses on prefabricated architectural items from marble quarries and shipwrecks as well as on marble architecture from public buildings within the urban structures of five historical regions of the Roman Empire (Baetica, Moesia Inferior, Palaestina, Tripolitania, and Caria/South Ionia), which not only possessed unequal access to marble supplies but also exhibited various architectural traditions in pre-Roman times. This project aims to determine whether Roman marble trade contributed to the emergence of a building material ‘industry’, which may have facilitated a standardisation of the Roman column order and the formation of certain building practices. Such developments may have influenced, on their part, the appearence of urban landscapes of the cities of the Roman Empire during the 1st ? 3rd centuries AD.

The present analysis relies on an interdisciplinary approach, which combines methods of classical archaeology and historical building research with those of the applied sciences. Fundamental for the investigation was a categorization of architectural items according to specific features, such as dimension, decoration pattern and marble provenance. If, in case of the first two features, screening, a correct drawing, and photographic documentation were not sufficient for a reliable identification of the marble variety, macroscopic observations (i.e. colour, specific pattern) had to be combined with mineralogical analysis based on thin sections and isotopic data for identification purposes.

Preliminary Results: Quarry and shipwreck evidence prove the development of a building material “industry” specialised in the production of monolithic column shafts of a standard medium format during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The architecture of public buildings in all studied regions indicates that marble trade promoted the import/export of complete sets of architectural items necessary for the construction of freestanding architecture. Marble items were combinable with buildings having different functionalities. (e.g. tabernacle façade architecture was integrated into nymphea, libraries or scaenae frontes).

Regarding the use of marble varieties for building purposes, there are regional variations determined by preferential uses of different coloured marbles for monolithic shafts. In contrast, the production of the remaining column elements (bases, capitals and entablature) was dominated by the use of white-gray marble from the small Island of Prokonnesos (Marmara See), which has to be classified as a global player in supplying white-gray marble for the whole Roman Empire.

The analysed building practices demonstrate that monumentality within the Roman urban landscape is to be understood as the phenomenon of adorning the urban space with prestigious public buildings, whose primary representative characteristic is not based on their scale (monumental is not necessarily colossal), but rather on the choice of marble as a building material.
Research interests Ancient architecture and urbanism, marble in antiquity, mobility of workshops and transfer of architectural traditions.
Post PhD Position DAI, Naturwissenschaftliches Referat an der Zentrale

Member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” at Kiel University.

Graduated as Master of Science with a thesis about the citywall of Antiochia on Orontes.

Studies of historical architecture and heritage restauration at the Technical University, Berlin

Graduated as Magistra Artium with a dissertation about the ornamental decoration of the Stoai of the Asklepieion in Messene;.

2003 - 2006
Studies of classical archaeology at the Free University, Berlin

1998 - 2002
Studies of History and Archaeology at the University of Bucharest (Romania) – graduated.

Graduated with a Diploma de licenta, dissertation about Roman corinthian capitals from Moesia Inferior.

1998 - 2002
Studies of History and Archaeology at the University of Bucharest (Romania) – graduated.

Work experience

Diverse archaeological excavations in Histria, Tropaeum Traiani, Selinunt, Messene, Antiochia am Orontes, Argamum, Priene

Since 2007
Member of the Academic Board and in the Editorial Board of the Review „Carnival“; Member of the Society for Heritage Preservation: Arheologie-Restaurare-Arhitectira (ARA).

Research-stay at the Institutul de Arheologie „Vasile Parvan“, Bucharest.

Research-stay at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI – Athen, Greece).

2004 - 2006
Student assistant at the German Archaeological Institute ( DAI, Orient Abteilung).

2003 - 2006
Student assistant at the Institute of Classical Archaeology of the Free University, Berlin.

2001 - 2002
Erasmus Scholarship from 2001 to 2002 at the Freie Universität, Berlin.

1999 - 2003
Member of the International Students of History Association (ISHA)

Research-stay at the Centro Rumeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica (Venice, Italy).

Since 2007
Active in the Academic Board and in the Editorial Team of the Review “Carnival”; Member of the Society for Heritage Preservation: Arheologie-Restaurare-Arhitectira (ARA)

Research-stay at the Centro Rumeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica (Venice, Italy).

Selected publications

Toma, N.:Marmorne Architektur in kaiserzeitlichen Tomis. Zur Frage der Marmorwerkstatt, Caietele ARA, 2011, 69-78.

Toma, N.: The Import of Prefabricated Architectural Marble Items to Moesia inferior. Provenance Determination and Technical Aspects, in: Proceedings of the IX ASMOSIA Conference (Tarragona 2009) (accepted).

Toma, N.: Note de topografie tomitana. In: Caietele ARA, 2010, 53-74

Toma, N.: Römische Korinthische Kapitelle aus Tomis. Dacia. In: Revue d’archéologie et d’histoire ancienne LIII, 2009, 89-105.

Capiteluri corintice romane de la Tomis. Grupul de capiteluri ‘serviliene’, in: Peuce. Studii şi cercetări de Istorie şi Arheologie II (XV) 2004, 73-94. (rum.)

History-ganda, in: Carnival. Annual Review of International Students of History Association, Vol. 2 December 2000, 28-31.(engl.) (PDF-File).