Special Issue "Metallic Minerals and Other Geomaterials in the Mediterranean Area: From Archaeology to Current Resources "

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Mineral Deposits".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Giuseppina Balassone
Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e delle Risorse, Università di Napoli Federico II, Complesso Universitario di Monte Sant’Angelo, Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Mediterranean area has been of key importance for the history and development of human culture, as well as for geological knowledge. This Special Issue on "Metallic minerals and other geomaterials in the Mediterranean area: from archaeology to current resources” will collect contributes of original research that present both archaeometric investigations of metal and non-metal artifacts from archaeological sites and mineralogical, geochemical and petrographic investigations of metallic minerals from deposits basically related to the Mediterranean domain.

Prof. Giuseppina Balassone
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Metallic minerals
  • Georesources
  • Geomaterials
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeometry
  • Mediterranean area

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Bridging the Gaps: Bole and Terra Sigillata as Artefacts, as Simples and as Antibacterial Clays
Minerals 2020, 10(4), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10040348 - 14 Apr 2020
Abstract
Medicinal earths are an important and yet, so far, little scientifically explored archaeological resource. They are almost always identified by their source locality. Our work over the last few years has focused on their chemical and mineralogical characterization and their testing as anti-bacterials. [...] Read more.
Medicinal earths are an important and yet, so far, little scientifically explored archaeological resource. They are almost always identified by their source locality. Our work over the last few years has focused on their chemical and mineralogical characterization and their testing as anti-bacterials. This paper presents the results of the mineralogical analysis and antibacterial testing of six medicinal earths, bole or Terra Sigillata (stamped earth) of unknown date and provenance in the Pharmacy Museum of the University of Basel. Only one of them, a red (Armenian?) ‘bole’, was found to be antibacterial against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. A yellow powder of Terra Tripolitania was mildly antibacterial and against one pathogen only. We argue that medicinal earths are in a pivotal place to bridge the gap between currently dispersed pieces of information. This information relates to: (a) their nature, attributes, and applications as described in the texts of different periods, (b) the source of their clays and how best to locate them in the field today, and (c) the methods employed for their beneficiation, if known. We propose that work should be focused primarily onto those medicinal earths whose clay sources can be re-discovered, sampled and assessed. From then on, a parallel investigation should be initiated involving both earths and their natural clays (mineralogy at bulk and nano-sized levels, bio-geochemistry, microbiological testing). We argue that the combined study can shed light into the parameters driving antibacterial action in clays and assist in the elucidation of the mechanisms involved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Genesis of Zeolites in Cenozoic Pyroclastic Flows from the Asuni Area (Central Sardinia, Italy)
Minerals 2020, 10(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030268 - 16 Mar 2020
Abstract
Natural zeolite occurrences have been recognized in several Cenozoic pyroclastic deposits in central Sardinia. This study concerns the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the zeolitized tuffites in the Asuni area (Oristano province) and aims to complement information regarding the zeolitization processes developed in [...] Read more.
Natural zeolite occurrences have been recognized in several Cenozoic pyroclastic deposits in central Sardinia. This study concerns the mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the zeolitized tuffites in the Asuni area (Oristano province) and aims to complement information regarding the zeolitization processes developed in the nearby Allai deposits. Optical and scanning electron microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, qualitative vs. quantitative microanalyses and bulk-rock geochemistry were performed. Analytical results allow defining the mineral distribution, textural relationships and geochemical features of the zeolite-bearing rocks. The most abundant secondary minerals are Ca-Na mordenites. Contrarily to the most common worldwide clinoptilolite + mordenite paragenesis, mordenite is dominant and occurs in different morphologies, rarely coexisting with clinoptilolite in the studied volcanic tuffites. Glauconite and dioctahedral smectite complete the authigenic assemblages. The primary volcanic components mostly include plagioclase, quartz and glass shards, roughly retaining their original appearance. The tuffites range in composition from dacite to rhyolite. The collected dataset shows that zeolitization is most abundant in coarser-grained deposits and points to a genetic process that mainly involves an open hydrothermal environment governed by aqueous fluids with significant marine component, in post eruption conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
5th-Century BC Himera and the Campanian Connection: Petrographic and Archaeological Studies on Western Greek Amphorae from Poseidonia and Elea Unearthed in the Necropolis of Himera
Minerals 2020, 10(3), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10030227 - 02 Mar 2020
Abstract
Within the frame of an in-depth study of the corpus of about 560 western Greek transport amphorae (6th–5th century BC) yielded from excavations at the necropolis of the Dorian-Chalcidian colony of Himera in North-western Sicily, one of the most interesting issues consists in [...] Read more.
Within the frame of an in-depth study of the corpus of about 560 western Greek transport amphorae (6th–5th century BC) yielded from excavations at the necropolis of the Dorian-Chalcidian colony of Himera in North-western Sicily, one of the most interesting issues consists in the determination of their provenance. Based on archaeological considerations, nearly 100 items have been attributed to southern Campania, specifically to Poseidonia and Elea. The present paper proposes a detailed combined archaeological-archaeometric investigation of 16 samples discovered at Himera and one at Jerba (Tunisia), of presumed Campanian provenance, compared with 4 local reference samples from Poseidonia and 6 samples of western Greek amphorae found at Pithekoussai and Elea, attributed to Poseidonia by previous archaeometric analysis. All samples have been submitted to a macroscopic fabric examination according to the standard methods of FACEM (Fabrics of the Central Mediterranean) and to petrographic investigation (polarised light microscopy) and digital image analyses of microstructures. Our study points to a Campanian provenance of the investigated amphorae and their distinction in a large group from Poseidonia and a small group from Elea. The identification of a numerous assemblage of 5th century BC Poseidonian transport vessels at Himera substantially underlines an earlier hypothesis about its ‘Campanian connection’ and allows for the reconstruction of an important Tyrrhenian commercial axis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Copper Minerals at Vesuvius Volcano (Southern Italy): A Mineralogical Review
Minerals 2019, 9(12), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9120730 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This work is part of a project focused on the Somma–Vesuvius volcano and aimed at identifying Cu minerals related to mineralizing processes associated with magmatic activity in an active magmatic-hydrothermal system. A mineralogical survey was carried out on a set of samples represented [...] Read more.
This work is part of a project focused on the Somma–Vesuvius volcano and aimed at identifying Cu minerals related to mineralizing processes associated with magmatic activity in an active magmatic-hydrothermal system. A mineralogical survey was carried out on a set of samples represented by sublimates and fumarolic products from the collection of the Mineralogical Museum of the University of Naples Federico II (Italy). These samples are mainly related to most recent eruptive episodes of Vesuvius activity, from 1631 onward. Copper-bearing minerals were characterized, as well as associated minerals, by X-ray diffraction (XRD) scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). An investigation on the structural complexity of Cu-mineral assemblages with different temperature formations was also carried out using the TOPOS software package. The main copper phases are sulfates, followed by vanadates, hydroxyhalides, oxides, carbonates, silicates and finally, phosphates. New mineral occurrences for Vesuvius, both Cu-bearing and Cu-free, are described. Nevertheless, the fumarolic/alteration minerals at Vesuvius cannot be considered of economic relevance as a copper reservoir, this type of mineralizations are significant for copper crystal chemistry and for the knowledge of the mineralogical variants. The obtained datasets can be of interest for the knowledge of volcanic byproducts of copper ore deposits (i.e., porphyry copper systems) and of (base) metal segregation processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Insights of Historical Mortars Beyond Pompei: The Example of Villa del Pezzolo, Sorrento Peninsula
Minerals 2019, 9(10), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9100575 - 22 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The topic of this study is the archaeometric characterization of mortars from Villa del Pezzolo, a Roman Villa located in Seiano (Napoli-Campania, Italy), dated between the 1st century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D. Mortars were analyzed by means of a multi-analytical [...] Read more.
The topic of this study is the archaeometric characterization of mortars from Villa del Pezzolo, a Roman Villa located in Seiano (Napoli-Campania, Italy), dated between the 1st century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D. Mortars were analyzed by means of a multi-analytical approach (polarized optical microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersed spectrometry, thermal analyses and mercury intrusion porosimetry) according to existing recommendations. Analytical results evidenced the use of local geomaterials composed of sedimentary and volcanic aggregates in the mix design and confirmed the three distinct building phases identified by archaeologists. Volcanic tuff fragments, identified in the 1st building phase can be ascribed to Campanian Ignimbrite formation, widely cropping out in the Sorrento Peninsula, as confirmed by the presence of glassy shards, partially devitrified and replaced by authigenic feldspar, a typical feature of welded grey ignimbrite lithofacies (WGI). Volcanic aggregates in samples of the 2nd and 3rd building phases show, instead, the presence of leucite-bearing volcanic scoriae and garnet crystal fragments related to Somma-Vesuvius products. Study of these mortars allowed us to: (1) understand the production technologies; (2) highlight use of materials with hydraulic behavior, such as volcanic and fictile fragments; (3) confirm the three building phases from compositional features of mortars and (4) highlight the change over time of the volcanic aggregate for mortars mix-design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Archaeometric Approach for Studying Architectural Earthenwares from the Archaeological Site of S. Omobono (Rome-Italy)
Minerals 2019, 9(5), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9050266 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper reports the findings of an archaeometric study performed on 14 architectural earthenwares from the archaeological site of S. Omobono, located in the historic center of Rome (Italy). The archaeological site, accidentally discovered in 1937, includes the remains of a sacred area [...] Read more.
This paper reports the findings of an archaeometric study performed on 14 architectural earthenwares from the archaeological site of S. Omobono, located in the historic center of Rome (Italy). The archaeological site, accidentally discovered in 1937, includes the remains of a sacred area previously occupied by two temples, one of which was converted into the church of S. Omobono, in 1575. The samples, dated between the 7th and the 6th century BC, belong to different sectors of the site. Their petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical characterization was performed by optical microscopy (OM), X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA), and Raman spectroscopy (RS). The compositional data obtained were also subjected to the principal component analysis (PCA) in order to highlight similarities and differences among the samples. By combining geochemical and petrographic data, we were able to identify several different fabrics. Furthermore, the study provided valuable information on the firing temperatures of some samples and the provenance of the raw materials, by analyzing the chemical composition of clinopyroxenes present as non-plastic inclusions. Full article
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