samos emery milosconference2014

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The present paper raises the question of a possible exploitation of Samos emery deposits during the antiquity, taking into account the attested emery mining on the island, during the 19th and 20th c. A.D. Is it possible that Samos emery, diasporitic or transitional in its composition, had been used in a similar way with the emery from Naxos, the main and most known emery source in the Aegean archipelago? As a first step for the investigation of this question, existing geological and historical data concerning the Samian emery are put together and are examined with references to the Naxian mineral. Especially as far as the mineralogical structure of the Samos emery is concerned, besides the existing data, SEM-EDS micro-analysis was conducted, in order to enable the recognition of the mineral in possible future analysis of archaeological findings. Finally, the few known archaeological findings that may indicate a probable ancient exploitation of the Samos mineral are presented, underlining the need of further examination and enrichment in order to draw conclusions on the topic.


  • 1. The exploitation of emery on the island of Samos: Existing data and research perspectives Stamatakis M., Malegiannaki I. Coastal Landscapes, Mining Activities & Preservation of Cultural Heritage 17-20 September 2014, Milos Island

2. Aims of the study Presentation of existing geological and historical data concerning the Samian emery Presentation of SEM-EDS, XRF and ICP analysis of Samian emery An initial investigation of a possible exploitation of Samos emery deposits during the antiquity Presentation of the few known archaeological findings that may indicate a probable ancient exploitation of the Samos mineral 3. Emery: definition and terminology issues Emery is a metamorphic rock which developed through the process of metamorphism of bauxites Photo from the Geological Museum of Apeiranthos, Naxos 4. Emery: definition and terminology issues Metabauxites are classified into two general categories: metabauxites rich in diaspore (AlO(OH)) (diasporites) metabauxites rich in corundum (l23) (corundites) The term emery, in its more strict definition, is used for the description of corundites, but in a wider sense, it includes also diasporites. This wider use of the term will be followed in this presentation 5. Uses of emery Certified use of emery in the Eastern Mediterranean at least since the 5th millennium B.C. in lapidary and metalworking: cutting, piercing and polishing of stones, metals and other materials Forms of use: Raw material Polished tools Powder (Boleti 2006) Emery is used until today mainly as an abrasive, for the smoothing of surfaces, in sand blast and as an anti-slipping material for the construction of roads 6. Metabauxitic deposits in the Aegean archipelago Feenstra 1985 7. Metabauxitic deposits on the island of Samos Mposkos 1986 Mikri Lakka Kallithea 8. Metabauxitic deposits on the island of Naxos (Feenstra 1985) 9. Western Samos emery deposits They contain corundum together with primary diaspore and chloritoid While in the eastern Samos diasporites, rutile is the main titanium carrier, in western Samos emery it is ilmenite While the eastern Samos diasporites are characterized by their schistosity, the western Samos emery presents schistosity only rarely (Mposkos 1978, 1986; Mposkos & Perdikatzis 1981) Mineralogically, the western Samos emery can be compared with the metabauxites in the diaspore- corundum transition zone of Naxos (Zone II & III) 10. Eastern Samos emery deposits Metabauxites of Mikri Lakka form lenses enclosed in calcareous rocks 11. Mineralogy of eastern Samos emery (Lapparent 1937, Mposkos 1986) Mikri Lakka: chloritoid-bearing diasporites characteristic pisolitic microstructure they can be compared with the metabauxites of Southeastern Naxos (zone I) Characteristics: bluish gray to brownish gray or variegated color fine grained composition with smooth fracture. It produces prismatic blade-like fragments 12. Mikri Lakka diasporites 13. Mikri Lakka diasporites 14. Mineralogy of eastern Samos emery Chip samples examined with SEM_EDS techniques in UoA, Department of Geology & Geoenvironment. Major mineral is diaspore, followed by hematite and muscovite. Corundum is present in a few samples, in traces additional specific features: presence of titanium-rich hematite disseminated crystals of monazite relatively high Th and REE content [La, Ce, Nd] 15. SEM microphotograph of Mikri Lakka diasporites Titanium-rich hematite subhedral crystals [light gray] disseminated in platy diaspore subhedral crystal aggregates [dark gray] 16. SEM microphotograph of Mikri Lakka diasporites Ce-Monazite [bright white] isolated micro crystal hosted in a titanium-rich hematite [light gray] and diaspore [dark gray] groundmass 17. Microprobe analysis of Samos emery Ti-richhematite Diaspore Muscovite Ce-monazite Fe2O3 81.86 - 84.57 Al2O3 61.45- 70.54 Al2O3 33.12 - 34.56 Al2O3 4.67 TiO2 5.33 - 5.50 SiO2 1.91 2.21 SiO2 44.52 - 46.24 P2O5 19.84 Al2O3 0.74 - 0.77 Fe2O3 1.48 - 3.36 Na2O 0.41 0.91 CaO 0.47 TiO2 0.33 - 0.68 K2O 8.68 9.27 LaLa22OO33 12.5012.50 CeOCeO22 26.1126.11 NdNd22OO33 7.237.23 18. XRF and ICP analysis Major elements were analysed in TITAN SA cement, in Kamari Viotia Plant. XRF major element analysis was performed in 4 samples, whereas ICP analysis was performed in the same samples for trace element analysis The main characteristic of the samples is the predominance of alumina, in percentages ranging between 50-70%. Iron was ranging in percentages of 10-26% and Titanium of 2.5- 2.7% 19. The exploitation of Samian emery: historical data (Belavilas & Papastefanaki 2009) Although Samian emery is a common reference in travellers of the 18th , 19th century (Fenning, Tournefort e.g.), efforts to exploit the mineral, are historically confirmed (so far) only during the period of the Samian hegemony (1834-1912) Ep. Stamatiadis informs us about emery mining on the mountain Kerkis, during the years 1847-49 and 1860-1. (Stamatiadis, 1965) Mikri Lakka: 5.000 tons of mineral were extracted and exported abroad, during the years 1906-1914 20. Mikri Lakka mines 21. Mikri Lakka mines Mikri Lakka emery was characterised as emery of inferior quality and was sold for 25 drachmas/ton (Naxian emery price: 80-115 drachmas/ton) 22. The exploitation of emery through the ages, based on the Naxian case The exploitation of Naxian emery (mostly diasporitic at the beginning) and its export trade can be traced back to the Neolithic time (5th m. B.C.) 3rd m. B.C.: emery tools used for the production of the protocycladic statuettes Certified exploitation by the Geometric oligarchy of the island Emery used as an abrasive seems to have contributed to new trends in archaic sculpture 23. The exploitation of emery through the ages, based on the Naxian case Exploitation during the classic and Hellenistic time is confirmed by ancient authors ( ) Pliny the Elder (1st c. AD) mentions the use of emery (naxium) powder in combination with a saw, and the long standing use of naxium for polishing marble statues, cutting and polishing precious stones The medical uses of emery mentioned by authors of the roman era are impressive 24. The exploitation of emery through the ages, based on the Naxian case During the Frankish domination, the mineral and its mining right belonged to the feudal lord of the area During the Turkish domination, the mining right, became a privilege of the poor orthodox peasants In the 19th c., emery became property of the Greek State, and emery mining is still an exclusive privilege of the villagers of the Municipality of Apeiranthos and Koronos 25. Is an ancient exploitation of Samian emery possible? Naxos is the main emery source in the Archipelago because of: The large quantities of emery the high corundum content (makes the mineral a precious product during the industrial era) Samos emery was characterized as of second quality because of the lack of corundum But the evaluation criteria change through the ages metabauxites rich in diaspore were the first to be exploited and seem to have played a significant role during the prehistory Is it possible that Samos diasporites were also exploited during ancient times, for local or more extensive use? 26. Uses of metabauxites during the Neolithic and Bronze Age (Boleti 2006, 2009) In order to cope with the above problem, one needs to take into account the uses of metabauxites during the antiquity and the properties that served each need Metabauxites rich in corundum: due to their great hardness, were used for the construction of millstones and percussive tools used for working with hard materials. In the form of powder/sand they were used for cutting, drilling and polishing Diasporites: can easier break into smooth blade like surfaces. They were used for the construction of sharp tools that worked with less hard materials (axes, adzes and chisels) 27. Uses of metabauxites during the antiquity (Boleti 2006, 2009) Diasporitic polished tools: utilitarian but probably also precious objects, constituting a common cultural element between prehistoric Cyclades and Anatolia Consequently, it is reasonable to think that the Samians had also taken advantage of the precious deposits existing on their island, a geographical bridge between Cyclades and Anatolia The above can be examined in correlation with the expansion model for colonization of the Cyclades from the south-east Aegean, during the LN & FN (Broodbank 1999,2000) 28. More data that can support an ancient exploitation of Samos diasporites The big number of ancient quarries on the island. A use of diasporite for smoothing soft rocks (limestone, marbles, schists) is possible The school of sculpture that made its appearance in the 7th c. B.C. Same as on Naxos here appears a special technique for the creation of drapery striations, connected by St. Casson with the use of emery tools Gemology exercised in Samos of the Polycrates era and traditionally connected with the famous architect Theodorus 29. Findings possibly connected to an ancient Samian emery exploitation Diasporitic tools exhibited at the new Archaeological Museum of Pythagoreion. 30. Findings possibly connected to an ancient Samian emery exploitation A round-faced object from the protopalatial palace of Malia in Crete. The pegrographic analysis of IGME, proposed Samos as a possible provenance (Pelon 1983). 31. Findings possibly connected to an ancient Samian emery exploitation Numerous splinters (probably used for the production of burnished pottery) from the Neolithic Tigani. Robert Heidenreich characterizes them as made of hematite 32. Questioning about a possible byzantine Samian emery exploitation 1983: a Byzantine hoard containing 300 Byzantine coins (Maurice to Heraclius era) was incidentally found in Megali Lakka Megali Lakka exploration (Caramessini-Oeconomides & Drossoyianni 1