Beyond labour figures: The 'hidden' costs of stoneworking and their application in architectural energetics

Simon J. Barker, Ben Russell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

A considerable amount of recent research on the economics of ancient construction has made use of architectural energetics, drawing primarily on nineteenth–century building manuals for useable labour constants. Such manuals are not the only source for understanding the Roman building economy, however, and indeed labour figures are only part of the equation. Focusing on stone carving, this paper highlights alternative comparative data, such as price–books, building and other accounts, and modern restoration projects, which can be used to better understand ancient practices. In particular, we explore a range of “hidden” costs beyond labour and materials, revealed in these sources but rarely accounted for in architectural energetics. These include variation in wages, profit on the part of workers, incidental costs for tools and accommodation, and contingencies for wastage and supply issues. By considering these factors we can better define the parameters for energetic studies concerning stone construction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Concept to Monument
Subtitle of host publicationTime and Costs of Construction in the Ancient World. Papers in Honour of Janet DeLaine
EditorsSimon J. Barker, Christopher Courault, Javier Á. Domingo, Dominik Maschek
Place of PublicationOxford
ISBN (Electronic)9781789694239
ISBN (Print)9781789694222
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • architectural energetics
  • stoneworking
  • building manuals
  • price–books
  • tools


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond labour figures: The 'hidden' costs of stoneworking and their application in architectural energetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this