Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 May 2018

PO-PU-RE: Workshops, use and archaeometric analysis in pre-roman central eastern Mediterranean

A. Kalaitzaki, A. Vafiadou, A. Frony, D. S. Reese, A. Drivaliari & I. Liritzis Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry 17.1 (2017): 103-130

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Po-pu-re (porphyra) denotes the deep red/ purple colour delivered from sea shells extraction and processing of five species and conversion to dye has been practice in ancient world, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Archaeological excavations have shown that murex was used in Greece and in other areas, such as Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Spain and generally throughout the Mediterranean basin. The colour of murex was priceless and used in wall-paintings and textiles. Many fabrics have been found in Crete, Egypt and Israel. Considering the ancient texts, including those of Plutarch, Pliny, Aristotle, Herodotus and Xenokrates, it has been shown that its identification can be advanced by studying chemical production of purple-dye, while using spectroscopy and chemical analysis the basic chemistry, the dibromoindigotin (DBI), is identified. The present report reviews major murex producing workshops in the Mediterranean and archaeometrical analyses that identify this marine shell.


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