Stone studies

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At Sagalassos, the relation of local limestone versus imported marbles for monumental building is investigated. Different types of building stones have been macroscopically and petrographically characterized by the section Geology and the Center for Archaeological Sciences (CAS). The natural building stones include limestone, conglomerate, breccias, marble, travertine, granite and sand- to siltstone of different qualities. The provenance of most of the building stones may be related to local lithological units, both in the immediate area of the city and on its territory. The first building stones of Sagalassos were quarried at the site proper. The quarrying of the local bedrock can be traced to the middle Hellenistic period. This limestone near monumental Sagalassos remains to be extracted throughout the Julio-Claudian and Hadrianic to Severan period. The unique limestone of the Sarıkaya quarry seems to have been used only in late Hellenistic buildings. This indicates that this quarry may have been one of the main suppliers of building stones during this period. The local pink limestone was only identified in the Ağlasun Dağları quarry. Although the quarry cannot be dated with certainty, the petrographic and geochemical data indicate that this quarry was at least contemporary to the Sarıkaya quarry, and was still supplying building stone to Sagalassos during the first and second centuries AD. Also, some stone types were clearly imported from considerable distance. Some of the beige and possibly pink limestone used at Sagalassos was likely imported from the south-western territory of the town, along a high quality white limestone. This import can be considered a trend from the Trajanic period (98-117 AD) onwards. The excavations at Sagalassos have also generated tens of tons of crustae and sham architecture fragments in different coloured stones and marbles imported from hundreds of kilometers away. This material originates primarily from Dokimeion, while a substantial quantity has been imported from different pockets of the Mediterranean, such as Greece, Tunisia and Egypt. Archaeometrical research, which comprises both petrographical and geochemical analyses, is necessary to back up these macroscopic findings and to determine the source of unidentified stone types and white marbles in particular. A small portion of the latter has a provenance pointing in the direction of Naxos, Aphrodisias, the Pentelikon and Thasos as possible sources. The presence of limited import of exclusive stone types such as cipollino verde, rosso antico, rosso brecciato, verde antico, porfido rosso, bianco e nero tigrato, granito del foro, giallo antico and porfido verde di Grecia can possibly be explained as recycled material from large building projects, taking place in other larger cities of the region.