Article

An early byzantine engraved almandine from the Garibpet deposit, Telangana state, India: Evidence for garnet trade along the ancient maritime silk road

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Abstract

An Early Byzantine almandine garnet engraved with a Christian motif and dated to the late sixth to eighth century offers insight into trade practices in antiquity. The gemstone was characterized by a combination of nondestructive analytical methods including electron microprobe, portable X-ray fluorescence, Raman spectroscopy, and optical microscopy. The chemical composition and zoning, in combination with the inclusion assemblage and the distinct distribution of inclusions between an inclusion-rich core and an inclusion-poor rim, indicated that the sample most likely originated from the large Garibpet deposit in Telangana State, India. The Byzantine intaglio thus furnishes evidence of garnet transport from the eastern Indian coast to the Mediterranean world during Early Medieval times. In so doing, it supports the interpretation of a sixth-century text by the Greek merchant and traveler Cosmas Indicopleustes, which describes the export of "alabandenum," a reference to garnet, from harbors on the southeast Indian shore along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. This idea is further buttressed by considering that garnet from the Garibpet deposit was used for bead production at the archaeological site of Arikamedu, one of the historical ports on the Coromandel Coast in southeast India. Conversely, a comparison with properties of the two predominant types of almandine used in Merovingian cloisonné jewelry shows that the characteristic mineralogical features and therefore the sources of these garnets set in Early Medieval jewelry were different.

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... Cluster A garnets, generally comprised of chromiumbearing almandines originating most probably from Southern India (Greiff, 1998;Calligaro et al., 2008;Gilg et al., 2010;2018), are the earliest ones in use in the Migration Period Carpathian Basin, applied from the beginning of the Hunnic Period (Horváth et al., 2019). Group X garnets, almandines with a higher magnesium content, originate from the placer Figure 11. ...
... CaO-MgO plot showing the composition of the garnets based on the SEM-EDX measurements. The classification of possible provenances is based on Greiff (1998), Quast and Schüssler (2000), Mannerstrand and Lundqvist (2003), Calligaro et al. (2008), Gilg et al. (2010;2018). The grey area represents garnets with variable chemical and gemmological characteristics that derive from various, unknown deposits and cover possible new clusters: blue circle: Sri Lanka (Ratnapura?); yellow circle: Sri Lanka (Elahera?) ...
... Black triangle: tongue with a bird's head of buckle UP, white triangle: tongue with a bird and boar heads of buckle UP. IANSA 2021 • XII/1 • 45-67 Viktória Mozgai, Eszter Horváth, Bernadett Bajnóczi: Possibilities and Limitations of Non-Invasive Analytical Methods in the Examination of Garnet-and Niello-Inlaid Precious Metal Objects -Case Study of Three Polychrome Animal-Style Silver Buckles from the 5 th -Century Carpathian Basin deposits of Sri Lanka (Greiff, 1998;Calligaro et al., 2008, Gilg et al., 20102018). These are very diverse chemically, suggesting that a number of primary sources may be involved, and the group comprises, most probably, several clusters (Gilg et al., 2010). ...
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... The reference garnets from Wadi Abu Dom and Wadi el-Haraz (AD, EH) were analyzed with a JEOL JXA 8800L electron microprobe equipped with a wave-dispersive X-ray spectrometer at the Chair of Geodynamics and Geomaterial Research of the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg (e.g., Schmetzer et al. 2017;Gilg et al. 2018). We used an accelerating voltage of 15kV, a beam current of 20nA, beam diameter of 1μm, counting times of 20 s for peak positions and 20s for the background. ...
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... wikigempedia.com/garnet.html). ➢ Garnets were used extensively in the historical bead-making industry of Arikamedu in Tamilnadu state ( Gilg et al., 2018). ➢ Garnets are of importance as a jewel in the bearings of watches and scientific instruments. ...
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