UCL Earth Sciences


Cosmati Pavement

10 August 2012

The Cosmati pavement in front of the High Altar at Westminster Abbey is an intricate thirteenth century mosaic floor.

Dr Ruth Siddall

It lay hidden under a carpet to protect its fragile surface, away from public view for over a hundred years until a two-year restoration project by the Abbey brought it back to life.

The pavement belongs to a type of inlaid stone decoration known as Cosmati work, after one of the families of craftsmen who specialized in it and the technique is called opus sectile, ‘cut work’.

The Abbey commissioned over 40 films to follow the progress of the project. Dr Ruth Siddall contributed a separate chapter on the geology and materials in the Pavement with two presentations: Analysis of the Mortars and the Geology of the Stones