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Keywords:

  • DOLOMITIC MARBLE;
  • STABLE ISOTOPES;
  • INCLUSION FLUID ANALYSIS;
  • TRACE ELEMENT ANALYSIS;
  • MACEDONIA;
  • SIVEC;
  • STOBI

This paper presents analytical data on a major occurrence of fine-grained dolomitic marble in the Sivec Mountains, close to the city of Prilep in today's former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. This is the first presentation of an analytical database of a large-scale source of fine-grained dolomitic marble, whose ancient use can be demonstrated by tool marks and archaeological evidence. Many traces of ancient mining have fallen victim to a big modern quarrying operation in this area, which for decades has produced high-quality blocks of marble (‘Macedonian Carrara’) and exported them all over the world. A combination of different analytical methods is used to characterize the marbles and to present a database for investigating ancient artefacts made of fine-grained dolomites. Petrographic investigations revealed the very homogeneous micro-fabric of this marble, which is of high purity with very low silicate contamination and has a maximum grain-size of 1 mm. In addition to analysis of the stable isotopes, trace element analyses of carbonate lattice elements (Mg, Fe, Mn and Sr) were performed. An alternative method, the analysis of the chemical composition of the inclusion fluids, was also employed. On the basis of these techniques, a multivariate discrimination analysis was performed, and a clear separation of the different dolomitic marbles (Thasos, Ephesos, Proconnesos and Karacasu) was obtained. Finds of artefacts of high artistic quality made from this dolomite prove the existence of a significant workshop in the neighbourhood of the Sivec quarries. Because of its vulnerability to weathering, this fine-grained dolomitic marble was used preferentially for indoor applications. Sculptures of prime artistic quality made of Sivec marble have so far been found in several locations of the Republic of Macedonia.