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Magnetic susceptibility variations at Mons Claudianus and in Roman columns: a method of provenancing to within a single quarry

Williams-Thorpe, O; Jones, M. C.; Tindle, A. G. and Thorpe, R. S. (1996). Magnetic susceptibility variations at Mons Claudianus and in Roman columns: a method of provenancing to within a single quarry. Archaeometry, 38(1) pp. 15–41.

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Mons Claudianus in the Eastern Desert of Egypt was an important source of granodiorite for Roman columns. Computer contouring of 1119 magnetic susceptibility measurements at the quarry shows systematic variations, with low readings in the west of the quarry area and higher readings in the east. One hundred and seventy measurements on 62 columns of Mons Claudianus type in Rome and its environs were compared with the quarry readings, using a t-test based procedure. Some columns with distinctively low or high magnetic susceptibility could be provenanced very precisely to areas of about 700 × 700m within the 9km2 of Mons Claudianus. Columns with susceptibility in the middle of the Mons Claudianus range could not be provenanced precisely. Results indicate early (first century AD) use of both west and east parts of Mons Claudianus, and contemporaneous use of several parts of the quarry, rather than systematic or sequential opening of the area. Columns found in third-century AD monuments, provenanced to the same parts of Mons Claudianus as earlier material, may indicate reuse of columns in some monuments. Magnetic susceptibility constitutes a portable and non-destructive method capable of provenancing not only to a quarry, but to specific areas within a single quarry.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 1996 University of Oxford
ISSN: 1475-4754
Keywords: Egypt; Mons Claudianus; Rome; Roman; magnetic susceptibility; data contouring; columns; quarry; grandiorite; tonalite; granito del foro; provenancing
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 13168
Depositing User: Elizabeth Lomas
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2009 17:25
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2016 09:27
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