Handprint Tile

This large floor tile is of a type called a sesquipedalis and was commonly used on floors which were supported by tile columns, often found with a hypocaust (underfloor heating). The surface shown here has been decoratively scored with a 13 point comb, applied to help the tile fix onto the mortar. In this case the tile maker has also left a handprint in the centre as a kind of signature. The clay used to make these tiles is often fine enough to preserve the fingerprints of the individual.