Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Tykot, Robert H.

Keywords

X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Turkey, Daphne, tesserae, Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis (SIRA)

Abstract

Artifacts made of durable materials, such as stone, can provide valuable clues to reconstruct the past. Marble sourcing, in particular,provides information about contact, trade, and other activities in the greater Mediterranean area. The Worcester Art Museum of Massachusetts (WAM) initiated a provenance study by requesting that an analysis of several marble artifacts occur at the University of South Florida's Archaeological Science Laboratory. The 55 marble samples used in this study are from the Worcester Art Museum's collection of Antioch mosaics. Positive results might reveal: 1) preferred sources of tesserae, 2) information about trade of specialized stone, 3) changes in preferred sources during different chronological periods, and 4) workshop preferences. The requested analysis had two objectives. First, once the provenance of the materials is determined, then the results could reveal meaning behind the images contained within the mosaic floor.

Second, the results could reveal new trade routes in the Mediterranean. The first step in this analysis was X-ray diffraction (XRD),which differentiates dolomite and calcite marbles. The second step used stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA), which measures carbon-13 and oxygen-18 isotopic ratios. These two steps have helped to identify Mediterranean marble sources in previous studies. Most of the ancient Mediterranean marble sources have been identified. They have different isotopic values and other characteristics that allow for differentiation. Only one source of dolomite marble exists, which is located in the eastern Mediterranean. It has been identified through XRD in previous studies. Many of the calcite marble sources have different carbon and oxygen isotopic values, which were provided from the SIRA.

Those marble artifacts with overlapping carbon and oxygen values can be further analyzed using archaeological, historical, and other information and by using other scientific techniques including cathodoluminescence, electron paramagnetic resonance, and strontium isotope analysis. This thesis discusses the methods used to prepare the samples and analysis conduction; it also discusses the results of the analyses, and presents interpretations regarding the provenance and trade of the marble used for mosaics at Antioch. The results of the SIRA and XRD analysis showed that the materials used for mosaic tesserae come from a variety of sources. Although no definitive matches were found, the results provide the basis for the collection of a colored marble database of sources and artifacts.

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