Archaeometry and Geology

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The geological and archaeometrical (mineralogical-geochemical) research performed by the section Geology of the K.U.Leuven at Sagalassos includes several topics in connection to the use of minerals in industrial or craft activity throughout the history of Sagalassos.

The research is focused on the occurrence and efficient use of industrial minerals, for use as primary as well as secondary resources. Archaeometrical studies of artifacts and their raw materials include the characterization and provenance determination of ceramics and clay resources and technology of ceramics production, the characterization and provenance determination of natural building stones in relation to the geology of the territory of the town, the reconstruction of glass production from its secondary raw materials and the characterization of metal production from its primary or secondary raw materials. Next to this research, the composition of restoration mortars for historical buildings is specified and tested for frost resistance and overall quality.

Also a reconstruction of the “geological environment” is made, where industrial minerals, ores and other products are prospected for and their use throughout history is documented. This includes geological mapping and geochemical prospecting.

The techniques and methods applied and evaluated in this research have been used at Sagalassos for more than two decades. Focus is put on petrographical, mineralogical and geochemical techniques, with special emphasis on the use of isotope geochemistry.

Researchers involved

Patrick Degryse studied geology at the K.U.Leuven where he obtained a Ph. D. in 2001 on the archaeometrical study of mineral resources and artifacts in the territory of Sagalassos. He was an A. von Humboldt fellow at the University of Giessen and since 2007 he is Research Professor at the K.U.Leuven. He is vice-director of the Centre for Archaeological Sciences and his main research efforts lie in the field of raw materials research applied to ancient ceramics, glass, metal and building stone, using petrographical and (isotope) geochemical techniques.

Jan Elsen studied geology at the K.U.Leuven where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1988 on the ‘Cation distribution in calcium mordenite and fluorphlogopite’. From 1989 to 2000 he was head of the Laboratory of Microscopy at the Belgian Building Research Institute. In 2000 he became Senior Lecturer at the K.U.Leuven. The main research effort of this laboratory lies in the field of porous building materials.

Philippe Muchez is professor of Geology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He obtained his Ph.D. at the K.U.Leuven and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Liverpool and the University of Amsterdam. In addition to his research on ore deposits and geofluids, he has been undertaken geological surveys at Sagalassos since 1996 focussing on building stones, mineral occurrences, and the study of neotectonics and earthquakes.

Bert Neyt studied geology at the K.U.Leuven and is making a doctoral study on the occurrence and use of clay resources within the territory of Sagalassos.

Dennis Braekmans studied archaeology at the K.U.Leuven and is making a doctoral study on the Iron Age to Hellenistic ceramics of the territory of the town.

Katrijn Dirix studied geology at the K.U.Leuven and is making a doctoral study on ancient human pollution at villa sites on the territory of Sagalassos