Volubilis (Meknes, Morocco): Archaeometric study of the white and coloured marbles imported in the Roman age - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Cultural Heritage Year : 2009

Volubilis (Meknes, Morocco): Archaeometric study of the white and coloured marbles imported in the Roman age

Abstract

The ruins of the Roman town of Volubilis, located in the Middle Atlas, near Meknes, between Fez and Rabat, constitute the most important Roman archaeological site in Morocco and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Volubilis became the headquarters of the Mauritania Tingitana limes after the annexation of the kingdom of Mauritania to the Roman Empire in AD 42. Evacuated by the Romans after the second half of the 3rd century, the town became the capital of the kingdom of Idriss I in AD 789. The results of an archaeometric study of the marbles imported into Volubilis during the Roman age are reported herein the sixth framework program of the European Union. Of the few coloured lithotypes that have been found, all are of Greek origin with the exception of the so-called “Portuguese pink”, a pale pink marble exploited by the Romans near Vilaviçosa in the Lusitania which, till now, has not yet been identified outside Iberia. As regards the white marbles employed in the statuary, petrographic study in thin section and the δ13C and δ18O isotopic data emphasize the frequent use of Lunense and Pentelic marbles. The latter also features among the white marbles used for crustae and architectural elements together with the dolomitic variety of Thasian marble, Parian marble from Lakkoi, Proconnesian marble from the island of Marmara, an unknown marble most probably of local origin, and a variety of the so-called “greco scritto” whose provenance still remains unclear. In fact, its petrographic and geochemical features do not match those known for the classical “greco scritto” from Cap de Garde, near Annaba (Algeria).

Domains

Earth Sciences

Dates and versions

hal-00515566 , version 1 (07-09-2010)

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Cite

Fabrizio Antonelli, Lorenzo Lazzarini, Stefano Cancelliere, David Dessandier. Volubilis (Meknes, Morocco): Archaeometric study of the white and coloured marbles imported in the Roman age. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2009, 10 (1), p. 116-123. ⟨10.1016/j.culher.2008.04.006⟩. ⟨hal-00515566⟩

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