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Open AccessArticle

δ13C and δ18O Stable Isotope Analysis Applied to Detect Technological Variations and Weathering Processes of Ancient Lime and Hydraulic Mortars

Institute of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, Stable Isotope Unit, National Centre for Scientific Research, Demokritos, Agia Paraskevi, 15310 Attiki, Greece
Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, Via G. Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
School of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, GR-541 Thessaloniki, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 339;
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
Samples of mortars were collected from lime and hydraulic mortars affected by environmental degradation. A total of 63 samples were obtained from Hellenistic, Late Roman and Byzantine historic constructions located at Kavala, Drama and Makrygialos in North Greece. Samples were collected in sections from the surface up to 6 cm deep using a drill-core material. The first sample was collected from the external layer, while the internal samples were collected each 1cm beeper from the previous, in order to monitor the moisture ingress. Isotopic data will make it possible to create an ideal Hellenistic and Byzantine mortar layer and to provide weathering gradients. The isotopic values comprise a range of δ13C and δ18O values from −17.1‰ to 1.2‰ and −25.9‰ to −2‰, respectively. The weathering process of Hellenistic and Byzantine are expressed, by the regression lines δ18Ocalcite matrix = 0.6 × δ13Ccalcite matrix − 1.9 and δ18Ocalcite matrix = 0.6 × δ13Ccalcite matrix − 2.0 for hydraulic and Lime mortars respectively. Pronounced isotopic shift to heavy or light δ13C and δ18O in the carbonate matrix was attributed to the primary source of CO2 (atmospheric versus biogenic) and H2O (evaporation of local primary water), in residual limestone and in secondary processes such as recrystallization of calcite with pore water and salts attack. Exogenic processes related to biological growth are responsible for further alterations of δ18O and δ13C in lime mortars. This study indicated that stable isotope analysis is an excellent tool to fingerprint the origin of carbonate, the environmental setting conditions of mortar, origin of CO2 and water during calcite formation and to determine the weathering depth and the potential secondary degradation mechanisms. View Full-Text
Keywords: stable isotopes; δ13C; δ18O; mortars; mineralogy; degradation stable isotopes; δ13C; δ18O; mortars; mineralogy; degradation
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Dotsika, E.; Kyropoulou, D.; Christaras, V.; Diamantopoulos, G. δ13C and δ18O Stable Isotope Analysis Applied to Detect Technological Variations and Weathering Processes of Ancient Lime and Hydraulic Mortars. Geosciences 2018, 8, 339.

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