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WHITE, VEINED MARBLE FROM ROMAN AMMAIA (PORTUGAL): PROVENANCE AND USE

Authors


email Devi.Taelman@UGent.be

Abstract

A multimethod approach using petrography and strontium (Sr) isotopic analysis was applied to determine the geological source of 17 marble artefacts from the Roman town of Ammaia (Portugal). All samples are calcitic, with dolomite, quartz and muscovite as accessory minerals. The marbles are characteristically medium-grained with a maximum grain size (MGS) between 0.98 mm and 1.82 mm, have a heteroblastic texture, and have curved to embayed calcite grain boundaries. 87Sr/86Sr values of marble leachates range from 0.708488 to 0.708639. Comparison with Hispanic and Mediterranean marbles suggests the Estremoz Anticline as the most likely source for the Ammaia marble, especially for architectural marble. This hypothesis is supported by the geographical proximity of the Estremoz marble district and the long and expensive overland transport required for other marbles to reach Ammaia.

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