Quarrying and Stoneworking

J. Clayton Fant

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Quarrying and Stoneworking

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology



The impulse toward monumental religious architecture in Greece during the archaic period and the consequent shift from building in wood to stone construction made quarrying and stoneworking activities central to communal identity. The challenges in Greek quarrying and stoneworking include trenching and transport. Both the idea of using marble and the material itself were imports to Rome in the second century bc. The imperial marble bureau reached its height in the second century ad, both in scope and bureaucratic organization. But in terms of technology, both in quarrying and transport, innovation was modest and elicited directly by the needs of scale and of adaptation to the uses for which Roman quarry products were intended. The marble trade of the fourth century was already foreshadowing that of the medieval period, when most quarries had become inaccessible and crumbling Roman structures became the chief source of supply.

Keywords: Greek quarrying; Greek stoneworking; Roman quarrying; trenching; transport; marble trade; Greece; Rome

Article.  6080 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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