Lapis Lacedaemonius Quarries

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Author: Dromos

GR | | Public | Dutch

On both sides of the road here are lumps of a green porphyritic rock. This is known to the Romans as Spartan stone or Lapis Lacedaemonius, or Porfiro Verde Antico to Italian masons, or Spartan porphyry, basalt or andesite. Having all these names, it is obvious this was a very much wanted stone for builders in antic times. Ancient quarrys, probably Roman, have been found along this road. But there were older quarries from Mycaenean times further up. Spartan porphyr from this area was popular in Mycaenean Greece. It was found in the Lapidary's Store of Knossos by Evans. But also Romans loved this rock as Pausanius describes. And the Byzantines made good use of it. You can find the stone on the walls of Neonian Baptistry in Ravenna, but also on the floors of St.Mark's in Venice and Westminster Abbey in London.

This stone comes from a porphyric andesite and comes from a a lava dome 2000 m long and 500 m wide of Mid-Triassic age. This type of domes and rocks are created when lava erupts slowely onto the surface. These two domes are small eruptions, without big volcanoes in the surrounding. This rock has no big boulders, but rather small blocks of less than 0.5 m, probabblu broken in small pieces during uplift and deformation due to tectonic activity.

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