The Earliest Use of Lime and Gypsum Mortars in Cyprus

  • Maria Philokyprou
Conference paper
Part of the RILEM Bookseries book series (RILEM, volume 7)


The microstructural investigation of prehistoric mortars selected from various archaeological sites of Cyprus demonstrated that the discovery of lime and gypsum technology had occurred on the island during the Neolithic period. This technology was already known in the Near East since earlier periods (Epi-Paleolithic period). Lime mortars were widely disseminated during the Chalcolithic period, whereas the use of gypsum mortars was rather limited on the island during all of the prehistoric periods. The discovery of crushed-brick lime mortars during the Late Bronze Age constitutes an innovation and can be associated with the overall prosperity of the era. The use of these mortars seems to have occurred simultaneously with the Mycenaean world. The selection of the raw materials for the preparation of mortars was based on the geology of each area. The absence of volcanic rocks in Cyprus led to the use of bricks as additives in the preparation of hydraulic mortars.


Neolithic Period Lime Mortar Calcium Aluminate Hydrate Gypsum Rock Prehistoric Period 
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The information for the preparation of this paper is derived from an unpublished PhD thesis, submitted by the author to the University of Cyprus and supervised by Professor Vassos Karageorghis as well as from one multidisciplinary research program on ancient plaster technology financed by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus (with code RPF 34/99). The laboratory analyses were carried out in the Research Center of Democritos, Athens (SEM with EDAX, qualitative XRD analyses) and in the laboratories of two government departments (Geological Survey Department, Cyprus: Chemical analyses, Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration, Athens: Quantitative XRD analyses, Petrographic analyses, Thermal analyses).


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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