Original paper

Mineralogical, petrographic and geochemical characterisation of white and coloured Iberian marbles in the context of the provenancing of some artefacts from Thamusida (Kenitra, Morocco)

Origlia, Francesca; Gliozzo, Elisabetta; Meccheri, Marco; Spangenberg, Jorge E.; Memmi, Isabella Turbanti; Papi, Emanuele


A multi-analytical study has been carried out on a collection of white and coloured Iberian marbles. A total of 135 marble specimens were collected in Spain and Portugal from the Betic chain (Alhaurin de la Torre, Mijas, Macael), Ossa Morena (Alconera, Almadén de la Plata and Viana do Alentejo), and the Estremoz Anticline (Bencatel, Borba and Estremoz) areas. X-ray diffractometry and carbon and oxygen stable isotope analysis were carried out on these samples; 38 samples were also investigated by optical and scanning electron microscopy. The results provide a set of diagnostic parameters that allow discriminating the sampled marble quarries. The carbonate minerals composition is distinctive for the Mijas and Alhaurin de la Torre marbles; the isotopic analysis allows discriminating also between these two dolomitic marble quarries. The Ossa Morena and Estremoz Anticline marbles share a similar stable isotope composition; the accessory mineral content, the maximum grain size (MGS) and the fabric are particularly useful in the distinction between them. In the framework of archaeometric provenance studies on Thamusida (Kenitra, Morocco) Roman marble artefacts, a specific comparison between this new Iberian database and archaeological findings has been carried out. The hypothesis of commercial exchanges between the Iberian regions and Roman Morocco is supported by the results of the provenance study, which suggested the Almadén de la Plata and Mijas quarries as possible sources of raw materials for the production of archaeological artefacts.


marblesspainportugalthamusidapetrographymineralogycarbon and oxygen stable isotopes