Article

Provenancing the stone tools of Volubilis, Morocco: A Socio-economic interpretation of stonework lithologies

Authors:
  • Geologic Survey of Japan
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Abstract

This paper discusses the study of stone implements from the Roman site of Volubilis (Morocco), undertaken in order to identify the types of stone used for different tools found in workshops and to isolate potential quarry sources. As part of the work of the Urban Economy of Volubilis Project, we analyzed the petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry of sixteen stone millstones and dough mixers. The results show that Volubilis’ stone implements likely derived from three different quarry sources, with olive mills, grain mills, and dough mixers each having their own distinct lithology, specifically selected to suit the function of the object. The geochemistry of the stones indicates a local source for all of the samples, including the alkali basalt millstones which are often considered to be imported through long-distance trade. The close proximity of the stone quarries and the evidence for selectivity suggest a degree of communication and reflexivity between the city’s craftspeople and those who produced their specialized equipment.

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L'objectif principal du projet «Pistrina – Étude des boulangeries de l'Italie ro-maine» est de comprendre le moment et les modalités du basculement d'une consom-mation de céréales sous forme de bouillie et de galettes confectionnées dans un cadre domestique à la boulangerie commerciale. Durant cette première phase, deux sites ont été sélectionnés afin de suivre ce proces-sus, Pompéi et Ostie; une première cam-pagne s'est déroulée à Pompéi du 1 er au 30 septembre, puis du 1 er au 5 novembre 2008 2 . Nous avons exploré concomitam-ment deux directions. La première consiste à étudier l'ensemble des 36 boulangeries pour comprendre leurs aménagements et leur agencement spatial de manière géné-rale (fig. 1) 3 . Une campagne de relevé sy-stématique a ainsi été initiée, permettant de dessiner et d'insérer dans la trame urbaine géoréférencée de Pompéi huit boulangerie, 1 Ce rapport préliminaire a été écrit en collaboration avec l'ensemble de l'équipe, composée de la façon suivante: M.-A. Le Guennec, E. Letellier, N. Monteix (EFR), avec la collaboration d' Y. Manniez (INRAP), étude et fouille de la boulangerie I 12, 1-2; C. Hartz, C. Loiseau, étude et fouille de la boulangerie VII 12,13; S. Aho, M. Célié (INRAP), S. Zanella, étude et fouille de la boulangerie IX 3, 19-20; F. Fouriaux, V. Lallet, relevés topographiques et mise en place SIG; S. Longepierre, étude des meules; M. Derreumaux (CRAVO), V. Matterne (CNRS, UMR 7209), approche archéobotanique, étude carpologique; H. Dessales (ENS Paris, UMR 8546 AOROC), étude des systèmes hydrauliques; A. Coutelas (ArkéMine), avec la collaboration d'E. Bukowiecki, étude des fours. A. Duvauchelle a collaboré à l'étude des pétrins et des tuyaux en plomb. 2 Ce projet est réalisé par l'École française de Rome et le Centre Jean-Bérard (UMS 1797, CNRS-EFR), en en collaboration avec la Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. Outre les financements institutionnels du Ministère des Affaires étrangères (Paris), cette opération a bénéficié du soutien de Fittes S.A. (Nîmes) au titre du mécénat culturel. Nous remercions M. Tessier, son gérant. Les relevés ont été effectués grâce au logiciel «Top Station», gracieusement prêté par la société JSInfo, ce dont nous sommes reconnaissants à son président, O. Cochard. L'équipe était composée de la façon suivante: M.-A. Le Guennec Les photos des boulangeries de Pompéi (fig. 3, 7-9, 13-16) ont été réalisées par des membres de l'équipe, sur concession du Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali -Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei. Toute reproduction, par quelque moyen que ce soit, reste interdite. 3 L'inventaire du nombre de boulangeries à 36 procède de la recension des principaux équipements, fours à pain et meules. Les fours de taille trop réduite (diamètre de la sole inférieur à 1,5 m) ont été écartés, à moins qu'ils n'aient été associés à des moulins non manuels: si le local VII 3, 4 dispose d'un petit four à pain, seules des meules manuelles y ont été observées; en revanche, la présence d'un moulin à sang (à probable mouvement humain et non animal), en association avec un four à pain, dans l'arrière-boutique du commerce alimentaire I 8, 15-16 permet d'y restituer une production boulangère. De ce fait, par rapport aux inventaires précédents, en particulier celui dressé par B.J. Mayeske (1972), des distinctions subtiles existent: la supposée boulangerie située en VII 4, 29 a été écartée, tandis qu'ont été ajoutés celles des Casti Amanti et celle située en I 8, 15-16. Fig. 1. Plan de répartition des boulangeries dans l'espace urbain pompéien.
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This study presents new geochemical data on 26 mafic lavas from the Middle Atlas and Central Morocco volcanic provinces, including Miocene nephelinites and Pliocene–Quaternary (3.9–0.6 Ma) nephelinites, basanites, alkali and subalkaline basalts. Most of them represent near-primary magmas, although some alkali basalts were derived from the minor fractionation of olivine and diopside phenocrysts. These evolved samples and the subalkaline basalt display higher 207Pb/204Pb and Zr/Nb ratios and lower εNd consistent with their contamination by lower crustal granulites during an open fractionation process. The progressive enrichment in incompatible elements observed from alkali basalts to nephelinites suggests their derivation from decreasing partial melting degrees of an enriched mantle source located at the garnet–spinel transition zone. The strong negative spikes observed for K in multielement patterns indicate that this source contained a residual pargasitic amphibole. We propose that partial melting occurred at around 2 GPa, i.e. near the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary beneath the Middle Atlas (60–80 km).
Article
The coasts of Italy still preserve several remnants of coastal quarries built in antiquity, that now provide insights into the intervening sea-level changes occurred during the last millennia. In this paper, we show and discuss a new class of sea level indicator consisting of millstones carved along the rocky coast of southern Italy since 2500 BP, that are currently submerged. They were extracted from beachrocks, sandstones or similar sedimentary rocks, easier for carving by ancient carving tools. Our study focuses on 10 coastal sites located at Capo d'Orlando, Avola, and Letojanni, in Sicily; Soverato, Tropea, and Capo dell'Armi, in Calabria; Castellabate, Palinuro, and Scario, in Campania; and Polignano San Vito, in Apulia. Unfortunately, only limited archaeological information is available for these anthropic structures. Scario, one of these millstone quarries discussed here, has been dated through independent archaeological remains, allowing us to restrict the exploitation age to the end of XVII century. Present day elevations of these coastal sites were obtained through geo-archaeological surveys calibrated using the nearest tidal stations, together with geomorphological and tectonic interpretations. Data were compared against the latest sea level predictions based on glacio-hydro-isostatic models. Our results allow proposal of the age-range of these millstone quarries and to estimate the intervening relative sea level changes since the time when they were carved.
Article
This article presents a previously unpublished Roman travertine relief showing scenes of breadmaking, currently in the restaurant Romolo in Trastevere in Rome. It presumably came originally from a tomb monument, possibly in the vicinity, and might be dated on grounds of material and style anywhere between the very late Republic and the Flavian period. From left to right it shows two men delivering of sacks of grain, a man loading grain into an animal-driven mill, three men keading dough by hand, three more shaping loaves, and one putting loaves into the oven. The article discusses parallels in other reliefs of bakery scenes, and highlights the importance of this one for the evidence that it provides for the extent of division of labour in a fairly large-scale bakery, in which the breadmaking process is divided into stages each carried out by different groups of people. Questo articolo presenta un rilievo di travertino di epoca romana che mostra scene di lavorazione del pane. Il rilievo, finora inedito, è attualmente conservato nel ristorante Romolo in Trastevere a Roma. Presumibilmente esso è appartenuto ad un monumento funerario, forse situato nelle vicinanze, e potrebbe essere datato genericamente, in base al materiale e allo stile, tra la tarda età repubblicana e il periodo flavio. Da sinistra a destra mostra due uomini che consegnano sacchi di grano, un uomo che carica grano in una macina a trazione animale, tre uomini che impastano la pasta per il pane con le mani, altri tre che fanno pagnotte e uno che mette le pagnotte in un forno. L'articolo discute confronti con altri rilievi di panettieri e sottolinea l'importanza di questo per l'evidenza che fornisce circa la misura della divisione del lavoro in un panificio di scala abbastanza ampia, in cui il processo di panificazione è diviso in stadi, ognuno dei quali condotto da gruppi diversi di individui.
Article
Millstones and grindstones of the prehistoric to Roman periods include saddle querns, rectangular hopper-rubber mills, rotary querns and Pompeian-style donkey mills. Many of these were manufactured from igneous rocks which can be provenanced to their geological sources using chemical analysis, giving information about trade contacts of sites. Sixty-nine samples of 10-20 g each were removed from broken parts of lava millstones of prehistoric and early historic date, from sites in Israel, Syria, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. These were analysed for major and trace elements using X-ray fluorescence, and petrological features were examined in thin section. The millstones were all young generally fresh lavas ranging from vesicular basalt to porphyritic andesite. Potential sources occur in younger volcanics of mainland Greece, the Aegean, Turkey and the Levant (Israel, Syria and Jordan), and in Egypt. Thirty-four geological samples from Israel, Syria and Turkey were collected and analysed in the same way as the archaeological samples, and an intensive literature survey carried out to supplement these by published analyses. Comparison of archaeological samples with source data is done by using a series of discrimination graphs, following a simple flow diagram. The archaeological samples were of two types, within-plate lavas, and island arc or other subduction-related lavas. All samples were successfully assigned to sources, and results show use of the source areas as follows.
Article
The partitioning behavior of niobium between clinopyroxenes and aqueous fluids was determined experimentally using an indirect approach in which the solubility of Nb in clinopyroxenes and aqueous fluids was measured in two separate runs that both were saturated in CaNb2O6. The solubility of Nb in clinopyroxenes was investigated in the system CaMgSi2O6 - NaAlSi2O6 - Nb2O5 - H2O at 1.5 GPa and 900 - 1100 °C. At these conditions, clinopyroxene coexists with hydrous melt and CaNb2O6. The solubility of niobium in the pyroxene increases drastically with its aluminum content. While the solubility of niobium is in the order of 100 ppm by weight for Al-poor clinopyroxenes, it reaches 4 wt.% for clinopyroxenes containing 10 wt. % Al2O3. Microprobe analyses suggest that Nb is incorporated in the clinopyroxene as NaNbAl2O6 component. The solubility of CaNb2O6 in aqueous fluid was determined by direct visual observation of dissolving CaNb2O6 crystals in an externally heated hydrothermal diamond anvil cell, using the technique described in [1]. At 1.5 to 1.7 GPa and 800 - 1000 °C, an aqueous fluid saturated with diopside dissolves only 20 - 100 ppm by weight of CaNb2O6, i.e., niobium solubility in the fluid is orders of magnitude lower than that in aluminous clinopyroxenes. Reconnaissance experiments on the solubility of CaTa2O6 in clinopyroxenes and in aqueous fluid suggest that Ta behaves generally similar to Nb, with the notable exception that the solubility of CaTa2O6 in aqueous fluid is even lower than that of CaNb2O6. Our results imply that fluid/clinopyroxene partition coefficients of Nb and Ta are
Article
In Roman times, rotary querns and different types of millstones, driven either by horse-capstan or water power, were produced in the lava quarries of the quaternary volcanic Eifel region and exported to many parts of the Empire. The geographic distribution of Roman lava millstones from the Eifel region provides important information about trade patterns and, in cases of well dated millstones, also allows an estimate as to when the Roman lava quarrying in the Eifel region began. Sixty-two millstones from Germany, France and Austria were sampled and analyzed for major and trace elements by X-ray fluorescence. To determine their provenance, the millstone data was evaluated by a combination of geochemical discrimination and cluster and discriminant analyses using an extensive and detailed database of all Roman lava quarries in the Eifel region. An Eifel provenance could be confirmed for forty-four artefacts and, furthermore, determined down to the exact lava flow. The affiliation of the other artefacts to other possible regions where millstones of comparable lava were extracted was carried out on the basis of geochemical data from the literature. However, because of insufficient data, only assumptions about the regional provenance can be made. The origins of the other finds are assumed to be the Vogelsberg region, the Massif Central, Orvieto, and, possibly, the Pannonian Basin. A preliminary map of the distribution of Eifel millstones in Roman times based on these data is presented; the beginning of Roman lava quarrying can be constrained to 8–7 BC.
Article
This paper is part of the special publication No.156, The Mediterranean basins: Tertiary extension within the Alpine Orogen. (eds B.Durand, L. Jolivet, F.Horvath and M.Seranne). Tertiary-Quaternary magmatism within the Mediterranean and surrounding regions, including the European foreland of the Alps, the North African margin and the Eastern Mediterranean, occurs in three distinct associations: anorogenic, extension-related intra-plate magmas, typically Na-rich alkali basalts, basanites and their differentiates, but locally including subalkaline basalts and potassic partial melts (e.g. leucitites) of the mantle lithosphere; orogenic, subduction-related/post- collisional magma series related to plate convergence; typically with potassium-rich geochemical characteristics which may be related to subduction of continental crustal materials; subalkaline basalts, similar to mid-ocean ridge basalts, formed at localized oceanic spreading centres. The magmatism is spatially and temporally associated with the Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic convergence of Africa-Arabia with Eurasia which resulted in the progressive closure (by subduction) of oceanic basins in the Mediterranean domain and ultimately the collision of the Alpine orogen with the southern passive continental margin of Europe. Break-off of subducted lithospheric slabs may have provided an important trigger for magmatism in several localities. The timing and geographical distribution of magmatism of orogenic and anorogenic affinity is summarized. Detailed discussion of the major and trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb isotope characteristics of the magmatism in the Central Mediterranean region provides important insights into the petrogenesis of the magmas and the nature of the main mantle source components.
Article
The petrochemical study of millstones can contribute to improve the archaeological research into reconstruction of ancient communication routes and trade networks. Volcanic rocks are geographically restricted and rather rare in the Mediterranean regions, and during the Roman period Italian volcanoes were important sources of raw materials for millstones, so the task of determining their geological origin is relatively straightforward. The Italian vesicular volcanics most frequently employed for this purpose were: trachytes from Euganean Hills (Veneto), leucite-bearing lavas from the Vulsini Volcanic District (Latium), basic-intermediate leucite-bearing lavas from Somma-Vesuvius (Campania), silica undersaturated lavas from Monte Vulture Volcano (Basilicata), a rhyolitic ignimbrite from Sardinia and basic products from Mount Etna and the island of Pantelleria (Sicily). This paper contains a general outline of the trade network for each volcanic typology used for millstones during the Roman period – updated with data concerning the leucite-bearing lavic items discovered in the archaeological sites of the ancient Cuicul (now Djemila, Algeria) – together with a summary of their petrographic and geochemical features.
Article
The ruins of the Roman town of Volubilis, located in the Middle Atlas, near Meknes, between Fez and Rabat, constitute the most important Roman archaeological site in Morocco and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Volubilis became the headquarters of the Mauritania Tingitana limes after the annexation of the kingdom of Mauritania to the Roman Empire in AD 42. Evacuated by the Romans after the second half of the 3rd century, the town became the capital of the kingdom of Idriss I in AD 789.The results of an archaeometric study of the marbles imported into Volubilis during the Roman age are reported herein the sixth framework program of the European Union.Of the few coloured lithotypes that have been found, all are of Greek origin with the exception of the so-called “Portuguese pink”, a pale pink marble exploited by the Romans near Vilaviçosa in the Lusitania which, till now, has not yet been identified outside Iberia. As regards the white marbles employed in the statuary, petrographic study in thin section and the δ13C and δ18O isotopic data emphasize the frequent use of Lunense and Pentelic marbles. The latter also features among the white marbles used for crustae and architectural elements together with the dolomitic variety of Thasian marble, Parian marble from Lakkoi, Proconnesian marble from the island of Marmara, an unknown marble most probably of local origin, and a variety of the so-called “greco scritto” whose provenance still remains unclear. In fact, its petrographic and geochemical features do not match those known for the classical “greco scritto” from Cap de Garde, near Annaba (Algeria).
Article
A system is presented whereby volcanic rocks may be classified chemically as follows:I. Subalkaline Rocks:A. Tholeiitic basalt series:Tholeiitic picrite-basalt; tholeiite; tholeiitic andesite.B. Calc-alkali series:High-alumina basalt; andesite; dacite; rhyolite.II. Alkaline Rocks:A. Alkali olivine basalt series:(1) Alkalic picrite–basalt; ankaramite; alkali basalt; hawaiite; mugearite; benmorite; trachyte.(2) Alkalic picrite–basalt; ankaramite; alkali basalt; trachybasalt; tristanite; trachyte.B. Nephelinic, leucitic, and analcitic rocks.III. Peralkaline Rocks:pantellerite, commendite, etc.A system is presented whereby volcanic rocks may be classified chemically as follows:I. Subalkaline Rocks:A. Tholeiitic basalt series:Tholeiitic picrite-basalt; tholeiite; tholeiitic andesite.B. Calc-alkali series:High-alumina basalt; andesite; dacite; rhyolite.II. Alkaline Rocks:A. Alkali olivine basalt series:(1) Alkalic picrite–basalt; ankaramite; alkali basalt; hawaiite; mugearite; benmorite; trachyte.(2) Alkalic picrite–basalt; ankaramite; alkali basalt; trachybasalt; tristanite; trachyte.B. Nephelinic, leucitic, and analcitic rocks.III. Peralkaline Rocks:pantellerite, commendite, etc.
Article
This contribution summarizes and brings up to date the recommendations made by the IUGS Subcommission on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks for the classification of volcanic rocks when modal analyses are lacking. The classification is on a non-genetic basis using the total alkali-silica (TAS) diagram, and is as nearly consistent as possible with the QAPF modal classification. The diagram is divided into 15 fields, two of which contain two root names which are separated according to other chemical criteria, giving the following 17 root names: basalt, basaltic andesite, andesite, dacite, rhyolite, trachybasalt, basaltic trachyandesite, trachyandesite, trachyte, trachydacite, picrobasalt, basanite, tephrite, phonotephrite, tephriphonolite, phonolite and foidite. Using Na-K criteria, trachybasalt may be further divided into the sub-root names hawaiite and potassic trachybasalt, basaltic trachyandesite into the sub-root names mugearite and shoshonite, and trachyandesite into the sub-root names benmoreite and latite.
Rectangular hopper-rubber (Olynthian-style) and rotary (Pompeian-style) millstones were found, respectively, in the archaeological sites of Monte Bibele (4th-3th century B.C., Etruscan-Celtic Age) and Fossombrone (2nd century B.C.-6th century A.D., Roman Period). All the hopper-rubber millstones from Monte Bibele and three rotary millstones from Fossombrone were made using the leucite phonolite lavas from the same quarries which are located near Orvieto (Vulsini Volcanic District, Roman Volcanic Province; Central Italy). Since these leucite phonolites were also used in the Iron Age (pre-6th century B.C.) to produce small oval saddle-querns, a long continuous period of quarrying and production of millstones is therefore established for the Orvieto centre. Euganean Hills (Na-trachyte), Etna (hawaiite) and Iblean Mounts (tholeiitic basalt) were also identified as additional volcanic source areas for some millstones, mortars and/or worked lavas found at Fossombrone. This strongly supports the existence of a well organized millstone trade from different volcanic areas in the Roman Period.