Greek Marbles: Determination of Provenance by Isotopic Analysis

Science  28 Apr 1972:
Vol. 176, Issue 4033, pp. 401-403
DOI: 10.1126/science.176.4033.401


A study has been made of carbon-13 and oxygen-18 variations in Greek marbles from the ancient quarry localities of Naxos, Paros, Mount Hymettus, and Mount Pentelikon. Parian, Hymettian, and Pentelic marbles can be clearly distinguished by the isotopic relationships; Naxian marbles fall into two groups characterized by different oxygen-18/oxygen-16 ratios. Ten archeological samples were also analyzed; the isotopic data indicate that the "Theseion" is made of Pentelic marble and a block in the Treasury of Siphnos at Delphi is probably Parian marble.