Why do we study roof tiles?
We study roof tiles because they show one element of how ancient houses were constructed and roofed, and they are a highly transportable artefact that can be easily carried back to the Apothiki for further study of their fabric and shape. Additionally, after the initial analysis of the roof tiles, we select those that have been stamped by the workshops in Antiquity and begin comparative studies of the stamps to ones found in nearby sites, like New Halos and Phthiotic Thebes. From this, we can learn how and where the roof tiles were manufactured, and the economic connections that potentially formed between the Hellenistic cities of Thessaly.
What happens to the roof tiles in the Apothiki (project space for Kastro Kallithea)?
At Kastro Kallithea 65,000 roof tiles were found, weighing 7300 Kg. Due to this staggering number, it is not humanly possible to transport all of the roof tiles from the site to the Apothiki, and only roof tiles that have been stamped or are initially interpreted as pottery sherds are brought down for study. Below is a picture of the unfortunate roof tile fragments that after a brief jaunt as sherds, are discovered for what they truly are, and are to be taken back to site.
The roof tiles that are stamped are given a special find number upon arrival at the Apothiki. The roof tiles are not cleaned thoroughly, as they are very delicate and may crumble under strenuous washing. Once cleaned, the roof tiles are labelled, and then handed off to be drawn. Drawing roof tiles is a time-consuming process, involving patience and precision for the asymmetrical planes of the artefacts. In the picture above and to the right a student is hard at work drafting a roof tile with an abstract circular shape.
How were roof tiles used in the antiquity, and how are they used today?
Roof tiles were used in a similar manner to how they are utilized today. Below you can see an image of modern roof tiles working in the flesh, keeping the houses of Narthaki dry and insulated from the natural elements of Thessalian planes. This image gives us a taste of how roof tiles might have looked in use at Kastro Kallithea.