The main lithoid material origin of the Temple of Hercules in San Marco d'Alunzio (Sicily, Italy)

Carmelo Saccà, Domenica Saccà, Preziosa Nucera, Anna De Fazio, Massimo De Maria, Roberta Somma


This study compares four samples of travertine collected in the lithoid material of the Temple of Hercules (III-IV century B.C.) in San Marco d’Alunzio (Messina) and other four samples of the same lithotype collected in an outcrop found in the surroundings of Alcara Li Fusi (Messina). Analyses on sedimentary petrology, paleontology, XRay diffraction and infrared spectroscopy have been carried out on both series of samples. Chemical analyses, for the determination of the major and trace elements, were carried out too. Sedimentary petrology and paleontological studies have indicated that all samples consist of Quaternary soft and porous organic limestones with plant remains, formed in wet and warm zones. X-ray diffraction analyses have shown that studied travertines are prevalently made up of calcite. Infrared spectroscopy studies also showed small quantities of kaolinite and dolomite. Chemical analyses have confirmed the compositional homogeneity among the different samples. Data, as a whole, allow us to hypothesize that the travertines used to build the Temple of Hercules were extracted in the surroundings areas of Alcara Li Fusi, in ancient open quarries set up in Quaternary travertines.

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