Archaeometric Classification of Scattered Marble Fragments to Help the Reconstruction of Statues

Lluís Casas Duocastella, Julio César Ruiz Rodríguez, Mauro Brilli, Fabrizio Antonelli, Juan Diego Martín-Martín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A multi-technique approach combining petrographic, cathodoluminescence, and stable isotope analyses is commonly used in provenance studies of archaeological marbles. In the present paper, this characterization approach transcends provenance, and it is applied to the reconstruction of fragmented sculptures. The potential of this novel application of archaeometric measurements is illustrated with a case study consisting in 16 scattered marble fragments retrieved from a Roman villa (Els Munts) near Tarraco (presently Northeastern Spain). The samples were grouped taking into account their similarity in quantified parameters such as the cathodoluminescence color clusters and the stable carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios. The results permitted classification of the fragments into three groups corresponding to three different statues depicting Antinous (7 fragments), Minerva goddess (4 fragments), and an undetermined character (3 fragments). Two other fragments could not be ascribed to any particular statue. The archaeometric grouping provides arguments that can be used to confirm or refute archaeological hypotheses of statue reconstructions.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cathodoluminescence
  • Isotopes
  • Image processing
  • Marble
  • Archaeometry


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