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APHRODISIAN MARBLE FROM THE GÖKTEPE QUARRIES: THE LITTLE BARBARIANS, ROMAN COPIES FROM THE ATTALID DEDICATION IN ATHENS

  • Donato Attanasio, Matthias Bruno, Walter Prochaska and Alì Bahadir Yavuz

Abstract

The marble of seven under-lifesize sculptures of barbarians, now in the archaeological museums of Naples, Venice and the Vatican, commonly considered to be Roman copies of the Pergamene Lesser Dedication in Athens, comes from the Göktepe marble quarries near Aphrodisias, as is shown by isotopic, electron paramagnetic resonance, trace analyses, and of petrographic data. Since this marble was used mostly by Aphrodisian artists, this finding confirms, on the basis of scientific data, previous hypotheses on the origin of the sculptors who manufactured the statues. Reliable discrimination from similar fine-grained Asiatic marbles, such as Docimium, is possible primarily on the basis of the composition of the Göktepe marbles, which have unusually low concentrations of manganese and high concentrations of strontium. Present knowledge of the history of the quarries and the distribution of their marbles seems to rule out the possibility that the sculptures date from the late Republican period and supports the opinion, previously proposed on stylistic grounds, that they were manufactured in Rome by Aphrodisian sculptors probably during the first half of the second century ad.

Il marmo di sette sculture di barbari, di dimensioni inferiori al vero, ora nei musei archeologici di Napoli, Venezia e del Vaticano, in genere considerate copie romane del Piccolo Donario pergameno in Atene, proviene delle cave di marmo di Göktepe vicino Afrodisia come dimostrato dalle analisi delle tracce, isotopiche ed EPR e dei dati petrografici. Poiché questo marmo era usato prevalentemente dagli artisti afrodisiensi, questo risultato conferma, sulla base di dati scientifici, le ipotesi formulate in precedenza sull'origine degli scultori che realizzarono le statue. La possibilità di discriminazione tra i marmi asiatici con grana simile, come il Docimium, è dovuta alla composizione dei marmi di Göktepe, che contengono concentrazioni insolitamente basse di manganese ed elevate di stronzio. L'attuale conoscenza della storia delle cave e la distribuzione dei loro marmi sembra escludere la possibilità di datare le sculture al periodo tardo-repubblicano e supporta l'idea, precedentemente formulata su base stilistica, che esse furono eseguite a Roma da scultori afrodisiensi probabilmente durante la prima metà del II secolo d.C.

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Corresponding author

Addresses for correspondence: Dr Donato Attanasio, Istituto di Struttura della Materia, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, P.O.Box 10, 00016 Monterotondo Stazione, Rome, Italy. donato.attanasio@ism.cnr.it
Dr Matthias Bruno, Via del Pellegrino 130, 00186 Rome, Italy. matthiasbruno@libero.it
Dr Walter Prochaska, Department of Applied Geosciences and Geophysics, Montanuniversität Leoben, A–8700 Leoben, Austria. walter.prochaska@unileoben.ac.at
Dr Alì Bahadir Yavuz, Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Mühendislik Fakültesi, Jeoloji Mühendisliği, Bölümü 35160 Buca/İzmir, Turkey. bahadir.yavuz@deu.edu.tr

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APHRODISIAN MARBLE FROM THE GÖKTEPE QUARRIES: THE LITTLE BARBARIANS, ROMAN COPIES FROM THE ATTALID DEDICATION IN ATHENS

  • Donato Attanasio, Matthias Bruno, Walter Prochaska and Alì Bahadir Yavuz

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