Provenance of white and colored marbles from the Petra garden and pool complex, Petra, South Jordan

Khaled Al-Bashaireh, Leigh Ann Bedal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates the provenance of architectural white and colored marbles excavated from the Petra Garden and Pool Complex (PGPC), south Jordan. Although the original context of the studied material is unidentified, sourcing these marbles adds to the classical and late antique studies of marble exploited in the decoration of Petra’s luxury architecture. Macroscopic characterization of all white and colored samples was followed by detailed thin section petrography and δ13C and δ18O isotope and X-ray diffraction analyses of selected 18 white and 1 green samples. The data obtained were compared with the main published reference databases of known Mediterranean white and colored marble quarries exploited in antiquity. The green marble is most likely cipollino verde from Euboea (Greece). The results of the twelve fine-grained white marbles show one sample from Carrara (Italy), two samples from the Paros-1 (Greece), seven samples from Penteli (Greece), and two samples from unknown sources. The latter two samples represent anomalous cases of dolomitic marble of very fine grains and high negative δ18O values. Of the six medium-coarse-grained white marbles, one is Naxian (Greece), two are Thasos-3 (Greece), and three are Paros-2 (Greece). The colored marbles are most likely africano and pavonazzetto from Teos and Afyon, respectively (Anatolia), cipollino verde from Euboea (Greece), giallo antico from Chemtou (Tunisia) and alabaster from Beni Suef and Asyut provinces (Egypt). The absence of the Anatolian white marbles from the PGPC assemblage corresponds with its date to the first century BCE—the first century CE before the diffusion of Prokonnesos marble. The results improve our understanding of Petra’s stones trade for both white and colored marbles to quarries hitherto not identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-829
Number of pages13
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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