Angeliki Koukouvou

QUARRYING STONE. From the Asomata Quarries to the Buildings of the Macedonian Kings. A Study on Quarrying Poros Limestone in Antiquity

Thessaloniki, Kornelia Sfakianaki editions, 2012



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The subject of this book is the study of three ancient poros quarries of particular importance, excavated in the area of ancient Beroia, Macedonia, Greece. The Asomata quarries -named after the nearby settlement of Asomata- are the first building stone quarries to have been excavated and systematically studied, not only in Macedonia, but in the whole of Greece.

The best preserved quarry, dated in the second half of the 4th century BC. is Quarry 2. It covered an area of 450 m2, while the volume of extracted rock reached a total of 1.125 cubic metres. Archaeological research in the region located more sites with traces of ancient quarrying which were scattered over an extensive area, 2 km in length on the lower SE slopes of Vermion Mountain between the Asomata area and Beroia.

The study assembles a corpus of all known sites with traces of ancient poros quarrying in Greece and discusses various issues regarding the extraction methods, the tools, but also the operation and organization of quarries during Classical and Hellenistic times.

The excavated quarries are irrefutable witnesses of quarrying activity in this region of the Old Macedonian kingdom at a time of prosperity and intense building activity in the major Macedonian cities. Their location, between two important cities, Aigai and Beroia, posed a logical question on the extracted material’s destination. To test our hypothesis that the Asomata quarries were operated during the 4th century BC. in order to supply a large building programme at nearby Aigai, which lacks poros deposits, we undertook an interdisciplinary approach.

The analysis results confirm that the samples from the Asomata quarries and ancient monuments of Aigai show clear similarities regarding their mineralogical-petrographical, chemical and isotopic composition. What is important is the creation of a database for poros stone of the region, which can be enriched in the future and become the starting point for future studies on identifying the material provenance of important Macedonian monuments.



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