In ancient Rome, floor mosaics were a common feature found in civic structures as well as the homes of the wealthy. As a utilitarian art form–meant to be walked upon–such mosaics were typically made from tough stones such as limestone, marble and granite. During the later Byzantine period, mosaics became more common as a wall decoration technique. Wall mosaics, free from foot traffic, often incorporated more delicate materials as well, such as glass, semi-precious stones, and gold leaf.
“Ancient and Byzantine Mosaic Materials,” The Art Institute of Chicago (2012).
“Making Ancient and Byzantine Mosaics,” The Art Institute of Chicago (2012).