The Aghia Kyriaki, Melos survey: prospecting for the elusive earths in the Roman period in the Aegean

Photos-Jones, E. , Hall, A.J., Atkinson, J.A., Tompsett, G., Cottier, A. and Sanders, G.D.R. (1999) The Aghia Kyriaki, Melos survey: prospecting for the elusive earths in the Roman period in the Aegean. Annual of the British School at Athens, 94, pp. 377-413. (doi: 10.1017/S0068245400000654)

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Abstract

The industrial minerals (IM) of antiquity, the ‘earths’ of the Classical sources, have for long eluded the archaeological record because of the limited material evidence they leave behind in the course of their extraction and processing. The extensive references in Classical and medieval literature and travellers' accounts have never previously been followed up by detailed surveys and by scientific analysis. In the course of April–May 1998 archaeological, topographic and geological surveys were carried out at the Roman site of Aghia Kyriaki, on the island of Melos, with the long term aim of putting the elusive ‘earths’ on the archaeological map of ancient industries. The present article outlines the work so far and highlights the complex factors that may contribute to the identification and characterisation of industrial minerals working in the absence of pyrotechnological waste. Furthermore, since IM processing requires a sustainable low temperature energy source, the hypothesis is put forward that Aghia Kyriaki may have been built on agriculturally inhospitable terrain mainly in order to take advantage of the area's still active geothermal field. If proven, this may constitute evidence for the first use of a ‘soft’ and environmentally friendly energy source during the Roman period in the Aegean.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Atkinson, Dr John and Photos-Jones, Dr Effie and Hall, Dr Allan
Authors: Photos-Jones, E., Hall, A.J., Atkinson, J.A., Tompsett, G., Cottier, A., and Sanders, G.D.R.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Annual of the British School at Athens
Publisher:British School at Athens
ISSN:0068-2454
ISSN (Online):2045-2403

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