Stefano COLUMBU / Antonio CAZZANI /Alessandro RUGGIERI
(University of Cagliari (Italy): Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale e Architettura, Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici, Paesaggistici, Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici di Cagliari e Oristano, Italy)

Keywords: Static structural analysis, Stones, Byzantine architecture, Reconstruction, Physical properties

The construction site was used several times: in a first phase, in the republican era of Roman domination it hosted, probably, a temple whose height could reach 25 meters; in a second phase, during the Roman Empire, it was used as a burial area. Then around IV-V century AD a first Christian Basilica made of a naved building with an apse was built there, at the center of a large monastery. Subsequently in a third phase in VI century AD a Byzantine Martyrium, with a Greek cross-shaped plan, was built: the central part of it, supporting a dome is still standing. Finally after 1089 the church was given to Marsilian monks who deeply renovated it and changed its shape converting the plan to a Latin cross.
A macroscopic material analysis shows the presence of various rocks, whose use appears to be inhomogeneous during all construction phases. Sedimentary rocks (limestones, sandstones, calcarenites etc belonging to local geological formations) are generally used for masonry structures. Marbles, mostly coming from abroad and previously used in Roman buildings have been adopted for architectural elements (columns, capitals, and so on). At a lower extent there are masonry blocks in Oligo-Miocenic volcanic rocks and seldom stone materials which are not originally from Sardinia. Both mineralogical and petrographic tests (e.g. XRF, XRD) and the most important physical properties (porosity, density, water absorption coefficients, compressive, flexural and tensile strength, etc) show that many of the more representative samples of rock materials (like limestonss, calcarenits) are often highly decayed, with a corresponding reduction of their mechanical strength.
A structural analysis is particularly useful for helping in clarifying the historical evolution of the building, checking reconstruction hypotheses and assessing the true residual strength of the more important parts. An example, a FEM analysis of the Byzantine domed part is presented here.