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The stones of the Sanctuary of Delphi - Northern shore of the Corinth Gulf - Greece
de Vals, M.; Gastineau, R.; Perrier, A.; Rubi, R.; Moretti, I. (2020). The stones of the Sanctuary of Delphi - Northern shore of the Corinth Gulf - Greece. Bull. Soc. Géol. Fr. 191: 11.
In: Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France. Société Géologique de France: Paris. ISSN 0037-9409; e-ISSN 1777-5817, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Delphi; Gulf of Corinth; archaeology; building materials

Authors  Top 
  • de Vals, M.
  • Gastineau, R.
  • Perrier, A.
  • Rubi, R., more
  • Moretti, I.

    The choice of stones by the ancient Greeks to build edifices remains an open question. If the use of local materials seems generalized, allochthonous stones are usually also present but lead to obvious extra costs. The current work aims to have an exhaustive view of the origins of the stones used in the Sanctuary of Delphi. Located on the Parnassus zone, on the hanging wall of a large normal fault related to the Corinth Rift, this Apollo Sanctuary is mainly built of limestones, breccia, marbles, as well as more recent poorly consolidated sediments generally called pôros in the literature. To overpass this global view, the different lithologies employed in the archaeological site have been identified, as well as the local quarries, in order to find their origins. The different limestones are autochthons and come from the Upper Jurassic – Cretaceous carbonate platform of the Tethys Ocean involved in the Hellenides orogen. Those limestones of the Parnassus Massif constitute the majority of the rock volume in the site; a specific facies of Maastrichtian limestone called “Profitis Ilias limestone” has been used for the more prestigious edifices such as the Apollo Temple. The corresponding ancient quarry is located few kilometers west of the sanctuary. Then, slope breccia has been largely used in the sanctuary: it crops out in and around the site and is laying on top of the carbonates. Finally, the pôros appear to be very variable and seven different facies have been documented, including travertine, oolitic grainstone, marine carbonates and coarse-grained sandstones. All these recent facies exist in the south-east shore of the Gulf of Corinth, although – except for the grainstone – the quarries are not yet known.

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