October 29: Sara Galetti, “Mapping Stereotomy: Vaulting in the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean”
Monday, October 29, 4:10 pm
Center for Digital Humanities, 344 Buttrick Hall
Sara Galletti, “Mapping Stereotomy: Vaulting in the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean”
Stereotomy—the art of cutting stones into particular shapes for the construction of vaulted structures—has been practiced over a wide chronological and geographical span, from Hellenistic Greece to contemporary Texas. Yet the history of pre-modern stereotomy is little understood, and nineteenth-century theories about the art’s Syrian origins, its introduction into Europe by the crusaders, and the intrinsic Frenchness of medieval stereotomy are still largely accepted. I question these theories with the help of digital maps that consolidate evidence of stereotomic practice from the third century BCE through the eleventh century CE and across the Mediterranean region. I argue that the history of stereotomy is far more complex than what historians have assumed so far and that, for the most part, it has yet to be written.
Sara Galletti is Associate Professor of Art History at Duke University.