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Provenance analysis of marble ecclesiastical elements from the extra-mural Byzantine Church of Udhruh (South Jordan)

  • Khaled Al-BashairehEmail author
  • Fawzi Abudanah
  • Mark Driessen
Original Paper

Abstract

The aim of this research is to assign the provenance of marble samples uncovered from the extra-mural Byzantine Church of Udhruh (Augustopolis), south Jordan. The church is a three-nave basilica that most probably was built in the fifth century CE. In later expansion phases, it was remodeled by the addition of two side chapels and several rooms. The research investigated the physical, mineralogical, and isotopic properties of twenty-four marble samples of different functions using naked eyes, lenses, and multiple analytical techniques including optical microscopy, mass spectrometry, and X-ray diffraction. The results showed that the architectural elements were made of the gray calcitic Proconnesus-1 marble (Marmara, Turkey); while the four fonts or basins were carved out of the beige dolomitic Thasos-3 marble (Thasos Island, Cape Vathy, Greece); and the small squared column of unknown function was carved out of the fine-grained white calcitic Penteli marble (Mount Pentelikon, Attica, Greece). The results indicate that the most popular supply of the ecclesial marble to the south (and north) Jordan during the Byzantine period was the gray Proconnesus-1. The use of white Penteli and Thasos-3 marbles were limited to ritual elements.

Keywords

Ecclesiastical Marble Byzantine Church Provenance Investigation Archaeometric Analysis Udhruh Jordan 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The results of the Udhruh archeological project and this paper were not possible without the work and assistance of our team and students. We would like to thank Maarten Sepers and Roeland Emaus for the figures, Frans Theuws for his continuous support and assistance, and Willem Willems (†) whose support was essential for the establishment and the international joint venture of the Udhruh Archeological Project. This research project would not have been possible without the financial support of the Stichting Van Moorsel and Rijnierse (via the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Research–NWO).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyYarmouk UniversityIrbidJordan
  2. 2.Petra College for Tourism and ArchaeologyAl-Hussein Bin Talal UniversityWadi MusaJordan
  3. 3.Faculty of ArchaeologyLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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